Facebook group organizes massive Albany clean up - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Facebook group organizes massive Albany clean up

Volunteers have created maps to organize clean up efforts. (Source: WALB) Volunteers have created maps to organize clean up efforts. (Source: WALB)
Elaine Mercer is storm victim who was helped by volunteers. (Source: WALB) Elaine Mercer is storm victim who was helped by volunteers. (Source: WALB)
Five trees fell on Mercer's house. (Source: WALB) Five trees fell on Mercer's house. (Source: WALB)
Anne Northrop got involved with cleanup efforts on facebook. (Source: WALB) Anne Northrop got involved with cleanup efforts on facebook. (Source: WALB)
Marti Yelverton helped create maps to organize cleanup efforts. (Source: WALB) Marti Yelverton helped create maps to organize cleanup efforts. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Thousands of people in the community have been coming together to help storm victims. From those who have lost everything to those who have been living in darkness.

As relief efforts formed, so did a Facebook group, Albany GA Storm/Tornado Recovery.  

Large maps of the damage have taken hours to put together. Community members have mapped out all of the areas that are in need of help and they plan to send crews door-to-door at all hours of the day to help feed and clean up until every yard is clear.

"The house was just trembling and then the crashing was just a sound that I will never forget," said Elaine Mercer, storm victim.   

After climbing out of her closet with her husband and two dogs, Mercer says her home was unrecognizable. 

"It seemed like it took two minutes and people say it was 20 seconds. But utter terror."

The storm left five trees on her house and another few dozen in her yard. It's going to take a lot of work to fix her house and yard but Mercer says she's not doing it alone. "The people who are here today helping me have given me so much comfort and hope."

These people working in her yard used to be strangers. Now, they're more like family. They've been working nonstop doing what they can. And their efforts were all organized through a Facebook group.

Marla Edmonds started the group, but did not have time to talk with WALB on Friday.

The Facebook page offers a platform for residents to share areas that need help after the storm. "This was a moment created by nature, God, that has brought an entire city together in order to heal."

"When I saw her on this Facebook page I decided to jump in heart first," said Anne Northrop.

Edmonds' friends, Anne Northrop and Marti Yelverton joined the page as well. They say the page allows them to reach storm victims in every corner of Dougherty County.

"I think it did exactly what it was supposed to do, which was organize a city that at that point in time was completely immobile," said Yelverton.

Northrop says it's amazing how many people have jumped on board to help.   "They are coming from everywhere to help us and they started Tuesday morning as soon as they heard it."

As the page grew, they knew they needed more than a Facebook page to help everyone. That's when a map was created.

"The map became instrumental in all of the things that were happening. You had all of these worker bees, but nobody knew where to go and get back to," Yelverton said.

The map has zones for each area that was hit by the storm. 

Yelverton and Edmonds are creating individual events on Facebook for each zone. 

They plan to send crews to different zones and then check off on the map which zones are complete. 

They said they won't stop until everywhere is clean. 

They say despite the lack of sleep, the long hours spent working are well worth it.

"It didn't matter what color you were, it didn't matter how old you were, it didn't matter what religious affiliation was. It was all about acting as a neighbor who was helping a neighbor and that's how we grew up," said Yelverton.

Copyright 2017 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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