GUIZERIX: Rolling Fork still in need of supplies, aid months after tornado

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Thanks to the relocation of court proceedings between the City of Vicksburg and Jacques’ nightclub, I had the pleasure of spending my Tuesday morning driving 99 miles both ways to Indianola and the 9th District Chancery Court.

From Vicksburg, the drive is a straight shot north on U.S. Highway 61, through the South Delta, or Highway 3, through Yazoo City and Belzoni. With only a three-minute difference in travel time and a curious mind, I kept left at Redwood and wound through Blues Highway as it narrowed down to two very bumpy lanes.

In all honesty, part of me wanted to be sure I was in an area where I knew people if I ran into car trouble. Another part of me wanted to see for myself how the clean-up process was going in Rolling Fork.

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Folks, I’m here to tell you the people of Rolling Fork still need our help and support, as much as we can give.

The mountainous piles of rubble are gone and, in some cases, shiny metal roofs have replaced blue tarps leftover from the March 24 EF4 tornado. But much of the town is a blank slate.

Take, for example, the site of Chuck’s Dairy Bar. All that’s left is a food truck perched atop a slab. The trailer park behind the restaurant is completely gone with no indication homes were ever parked there. Homes throughout Rolling Fork, both mobile homes and brick-and-mortar buildings, remain as shells, but people are still there, fighting to survive.

In a recent “Good Morning America” segment, part of anchor Robin Roberts’ ongoing coverage of the area, it was revealed that supplies are still needed at the Sharkey County Distribution Center four months into recovery.

The distribution center is currently housed at South Delta High School and organizers post daily needs on the “Needs for Rolling Fork MS” Facebook page — usually, a photo of a list written on a dry-erase board. Things like diapers, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies, water and personal hygiene items are all needed.

Organizer Rebecca Hay told GMA her mission is to keep the distribution center open for all people who need it, as a beacon of hope for the community.

“For some people, this might be the only smile they get all day,” she said.

Rolling Fork only has one remaining store. All other stores, laundromats and most restaurants are gone. At times, the distribution center is the only place people there can find items they desperately need.

If you would like to donate, you can do so in-person or by mailing items to South Delta High School.

The address is:

South Delta High School, Attn: Distribution Center

303 Parkway St.

Rolling Fork, MS 39159