On a hot, muggy day, Janice Robertson took her attention away from a stormy afternoon and started to prepare dinner for her family in a Tupelo apartment. Suddenly, she heard shouting from the door that the tornado was approaching.
Robertson quickly gathered her four children and boyfriend and jammed into a closet and rode out the storm. They emerged to find broken windows and a hole in the roof with water streaming in. They thought they had nowhere else to go, so they attempted to spend the first night in the apartment. That meant mopping up water and getting some sleep as sirens wailed in their neighborhood.
By the next morning, they realized it wasn’t safe them in their apartment. They found themselves welcomed at the American Red Cross shelter at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo. After nearly a week in the shelter, the Red Cross was able to secure better housing as the family moves to recovery.
For 18-month-old Joe Bean, Jr., it was time to go home. Short on words, but overflowing with energy, Jo-Jo, as his family calls him, couldn’t wait to get to a place with an outside playground.
And that means for Mothers Day, 2014, Robertson and her family will have a place they can call home.
The American Red Cross remains on the scene in Tupelo, helping residents recover from the storm. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.