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Joplin residents are getting help from people who drove in from across the country to provide meals, supply, and other kinds of support. As KSMU's Missy Shelton reports, help from outside the community is making a difference to those who were impacted by the EF5 tornado that hit Joplin May 22.
Not long after the tornado pummeled Joplin, the parking lot of Forest Park Baptist Church was mostly empty. Now, it’s busy and filled with people who want to help. Members of Chapelcreek Fellowship, including Jennifer Day came all the way from Fort Worth, Texas to serve food.To feed up to one thousand people a day, this group has created what is essentially an outdoor kitchen. Karen Troup says it’s a good set up.In another part of the parking lot, Joplin resident Al Wilson is eating pancakes that were made on a portable griddle brought in by another group from Texas. He says he’s overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from across the country.While Al Wilson was able to walk to the church parking lot for a meal, others are reluctant to take a break and walk to a feeding station. That’s why Mark Roye and his group, Blood and Fire ministries is taking meals out into the tornado effected neighborhoods.As you drive through the areas hit hardest by the deadly tornado, you see stacks of bottled water sitting on street corners. Besides delivering food, Roye says he and his team want to listen to residents.The assistance that’s come from complete strangers has overwhelmed many in this community. Jim Fleischaker says he received help from complete strangers.The gratitude of the community is summed up on a beat-up piece of plywood strapped to a tree next to the road. Someone has spray painted “Thank You America.”