United Way of Oconee Co. helping families post-tornado

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SENECA, SC (WSPA) — Kelly Alder only had a few minutes warning to prepare for the tornado. She gathered her family into an interior room as the funnel cloud — a monster EF-3 with 160 mph winds — ripped through Oconee County.

The single mother of two says the storm hit at 3:33 a.m.

It downed a large pecan tree in her back yard, punching a large hole in her roof and shifting the house on its foundation. Alder told 7News inspectors saw that damage and also discovered black mold in the building and promptly condemned the house.

“We’re living in a hotel because we haven’t found a house yet,” she said. “It’s devastating.”

United Way of Oconee County has been one of several organizations to come to Alder’s aid. The organization said Friday it raised more than $48,000 dollars on Monday, when it paired with 7News.

In total, a whopping $94,153 had been raised by the end of the day Friday, including an anonymous donation of $24,000.

Those donations have helped many in the community. Dollars have paid moving expenses so residents can leave their condemned homes.

They have paid deposits in new homes for displaced people who could not otherwise afford it.

They have helped fund hotel stays for those who cannot yet find new homes.

“One-hundred percent of the money being raised for tornado relief is going to support the people in out community,” said Heather Goss. Goss is the Board President for United Way of Oconee County. “Anyone who is supporting financially can rest assured that their money is being well spent and used to maximize the impact.”

A portion of donated funds have helped other area non-profits assist residents further.

Debra Andrews, the director for Salvation Army Service Center for Oconee County, said a portion of funds have helped the organization provide food for those in need. Dollars have also helped some families afford new clothes, shelter and furniture.

“[United Way] has been a blessing,” Alder said, “not just for me — for many, many other people in the community.”

If you want to donate to the relief fund, you still can.

Checks can be sent here: P.O. Box 1693, Seneca, SC 29679.

Donations can also be made at any Oconee Federal Savings and Loan Branch.

The organization is also accepting donations via Venmo: @United Way-Oconee.

For more information on how to donate, you can click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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