Faith-based volunteers show up to help after Mississippi tornadoes

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — When volunteers show up after a disaster like this past weekend’s deadly tornadoes in Mississippi, some bring chainsaws, tarps and heavy equipment. Donnie Wedgworth and his friends bring catfish. 
On Monday (March 27), Wedgworth and a group of church friends — who call themselves the Catfish Navy — were frying up catfish, French fries and hush-puppies, planning to serve about 600 meals to local residents and first responders in Silver City, Mississippi, one of the small, rural towns affected by Friday’s tornado, which killed 26 people.
The volunteer group, which hails from Greensboro, Alabama, a town of fewer than 3,000 people, served another 500 meals on Sunday before a thunderstorm forced them to shut down.
Wedgworth, an elder at a Presbyterian church, said most of the folks in the group knew each other from working in the catfish industry. There are also Baptists and Methodists in the group of senior citizens.
“The youngest person with us is 60,” he said.
Faith-based volunteers like Wedgworth are often among the first on the ground to help clean up after major disasters. Many are senior citizens who have devoted time and energy to getting prepared to lend a hand. For Wedgworth and his friends, that meant getting a 24-foot trailer a few years ago to carry their cooking equipment.
Volunteers with Catfish Navy prepare meals for local residents and …

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