Black Belt Community Foundation hopes Biden’s visit will boost Selma storm recovery

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 8:16 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Thousands of people will make their way to Selma this weekend for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, including President Joe Biden. The president is expected to get a firsthand look at the damage left behind in Selma from the Jan. 12 tornado while he is in town.

Since the storm, the Black Belt Community Foundation has been doing everything possible to serve the community. The Black Belt Community Foundation has heard many heartbreaking stories from tornado survivors.

“Seems like tree removal started, but then in many cases, it wasn’t finished. So people still have a tree on a fence. Somebody might be camping out in their living room in their house and a tent because they have no roof, but they want to guard their property. I heard a story from a family, eight kids and a single mother in one hotel room,” said Black Belt Community Foundation communications director Daron Harris.

Last week, Harris and Christopher Spencer represented the foundation in meetings with residents in Selma at the disaster assistance resource fair hosted by U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell.

“So with the information we gathered, we’ve immediately been able to connect some service providers to those that we talked to that knew they were struggling with it, whether it be their home or church,” said Harris.

More than 450 donors have helped the foundation raise $500,000 for the Selma Rebuild and Recovery Fund and the Communities Helping Communities Fund. But foundation leaders say more is needed to help with the long term need like permanent housing.

“We know that over 200 houses have to be built, so there’s going to be a lot of work and a lot of planning done,” said Black Belt Community Foundation engagement officer Christopher Spencer.

Foundation leaders are excited to see that Biden has made coming to Selma a priority.

“Everybody plays a role, from the individual resident, from the young people, older people, faith community, nonprofits, as well as the government. And that’s why President Biden deciding to make this trip, that’s important. And he needs to know that we need to be able to access the resources to uplift the folks that have uplifted the whole world,” said Spencer.

Statement from Black Belt Community Foundation President Felecia Lucky
Statement from Black Belt Community Foundation President Felecia Lucky(Black Belt Community Foundation)

Click here to learn more about the Black Belt Community Foundation.

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