Local aid steps up in Waverly where the federal government won't

Local aid steps up in Waverly where the federal government won't

WAVERLY, VA (WWBT) - Many of Central Virginia's tornado victims are still struggling to rebuild their communities and federal funding was just denied, but hope is not lost. While Governor McAuliffe is appealing FEMA's decision, one corporation plans to deliver supplies and food to struggling neighbors in Waverly this weekend.

These are employees that work for an international company called Teleperformance, an outsourcing business, that helps other businesses solve their internal problems. In this instance, they're helping people in Waverly.

The EF-1 tornado that cut a path through Waverly, Virginia, about 300 yards wide and nine miles long, still weighs heavily on the people. You don't come back quickly from something so powerful. "Why not help?" said Henrietta Anderson, HR coordinator for Teleperformance.

It happened in February, and in March, Teleperformance employees spent the whole month collecting food, canned goods, toys, clothes, and essential products to keep people going so they can focus on healing. "It started out as a game. We started out as TP March Madness and who could bring in the most items, and that's how we ended up with so much to help others," Anderson said.

Death was the worst consequence.  A toddler, his uncle, and a family friend were killed. The twister ripped apart homes, businesses, picked up vehicles, and practically leveled a church. For some of the company's employees, the connection to Waverly is personal.

"As a corporation, we do a lot of campaigns. Some of them are very broad and some of them are a little closer to home. We have employees here that were actually impacted by the tornadoes in Waverly. When this particular campaign came about we had people that were already desperately in need," said Amber Greene, manager of recruiting for Teleperformance.

They have reached out to the pastor of the demolished church about its congregation that's temporarily worshipping elsewhere. "Empowerment Ministries. We've spoken to them as well. We've talked to a couple other churches in the area, as well as public safety in Waverly. We want to make sure everybody gets a piece of it. We want to make sure we give everything out to everybody," Anderson said.

They know where the need is and the plan is to deliver supplies to recovering families by the weekend. "We have just a little over... well, they've been sneaking some extra stuff in at night. We have just a little over 4,500 items in total. We, from Teleperformance here in Richmond, are glad we were able to help somebody else," Anderson said.

They're loading up a Uhaul truck and leaving for Waverly Saturday. The employees said they hope their work will keep the spotlight on Waverly
and inspire a consistent outpouring of donations because it's especially needed now that FEMA has decided federal aid isn't needed.

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