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Strangers help Lynchburg tornado victims get back on their feet in new home

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)– It’s been more than three weeks since an EF-3 tornado ripped through Lynchburg, Campbell County and Amherst County. In its wake, strangers have come out in force to help people in need.

A Facebook page has been helping to streamline the donations and get people what they need, all from volunteers in the community. It’s called “Relief for Elon and Lynchburg” and it’s what got the Evans family back on their feet.

Terry Evans, Sherry Mason and their son used to live in Brentwood trailer park off Lakeside Drive. The tornado lifted their home off its foundation, destroying almost all of their belongings.

Brandy Grishaw was walking through the trailer park a few days after the tornado when she found the Evans family by their car. Grishaw is one of three women running the “Relief for Elon and Lynchburg” page. She immediately started making phone calls and posting on Facebook to get the family help.

They’ve met a lot of people, but something about the Evans family struck a chord.

“Out of everything that I’d see when I left that day, I actually cried leaving the trailer park,” said Grishaw.

Maybe it was the little boy, Terry. He lost everything and the only thing he asked for was a toy truck. They got him one.

With no insurance, all the family had to their name was their car. Which is where the ladies found them.

“When she found out that we had nowhere to go, she sat there instantly and got on the phone and organized a place for us to go,” said Mason. “And now, we’re moving into our place.”

The women posted on the Facebook page what the family needed and then strangers would comment if they could help.

“So many people reach out and helping us, help them,” said Jennifer Wood Gillispie.

They’ve made it their mission to get this family up and running again. Beds were donated by Schewels, furniture from multiple different families and first month’s rent paid by a GoFundMe page the women set up.

“We weren’t hit but it hit our hearts,” said Gillispie.

Their mission for the Evans family is complete, but this newfound friendship is far from over.

The “Relief for Elon and Lynchburg” page is updated daily with more people who need help. The women have helped over four families struck by the tornado with no insurance.

Their goal is to keep this page going after the tornado and post about general needs in the community.

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