Richard and Kaylin Morales suffered damage to their home, but Richard - an instructor at Sinclair - says the help the college and area has provided to those in need has been amazing.

Sinclair holds dinner for tornado survivors

Clayton residents Richard and Kaylin Morales had some damage to their home from the tornadoes, but on Sunday they were focused on hope for the future.

MORE: UPDATE: Community-by-community survey of tornado damage, cleanup efforts

The couple said the memory of the Memorial Day twisters is still fresh in their minds.

“About 11:30 p.m. or so on Memorial Day, is when we went down into the basement and we heard the wind beating on the house and we were holding on to each other and praying,” Richard said. “Our house suffered damage and we were in a total state of shock.”

Kaylin said that the couple was out of power for five or six days. Richard said when they drive around and see some of the other communities hit by the tornadoes, it is hard to look at.

Sinclair Community College VP Shannon Bryant says the college wants to provide free meals to those impacted by the tornadoes that devastated parts of the Miami Valley.

MORE: New ‘Tornado Alley’ may be emerging, shifting east, research shows

“It is still very unbelievable,” he said. “We know we suffered damage, but there were so many who suffered more. I really appreciate what Sinclair is doing for the community.

Sinclair reached out to victims of the tornadoes and hosted a free meal on Sunday. The first of several planned. All the food that is left over will be delivered to agencies for distribution to tornado victims.

Jodi Reynolds and Bettina Acosta of Riverside brought their grandchildren to the event. The kids were able to have their faces painted and enjoy a performance from the Cincinnati Circus. The grandparents were glad to see the kids get some relief from the trauma they experienced on Memorial Day.

Vice President of Workforce Development and Corporate Services, Shannon Bryant, said there were around 200 meals served on Sunday and the college continues to work with its regional partners to help tornado victims deal with the issues they are facing.

MORE: Tornado assistance clinic: Agencies help tornado victims rebuild and heal

“We had dinner prepared today for up to 3,000 individuals,” Bryant said. “We also have resources available such as St. Vincent de Paul, Team Rubicon and computers set up if people need access to the internet. We also have paperwork here for anybody who needs to fill it out for shelter or whatever they may need.”

From Beavercreek, Trotwood, Dayton, Riverside, Vandalia, Harrison Twp., Miami County, and Clayton, along with every area affected, Bryant said, Sinclair has had teams of people out in the community trying to fill in any gaps for help as necessary.

Thousands of volunteers head out over the weekend to help

Mike and Thia Whitaker of Centerville, were out in the Dayton area on Sunday working across from the remains of the Marathon gas station on Wagner Ford Road. The couple just wanted to help.

MORE: PHOTOS: Tornado outbreak in Miami Valley

Thia was handing out supplies and food from the back of a semi-trailer that was packed with items and Mike was busy making sure that anybody who needed something to eat in the area had food.

“We emptied it out once already,” Thia said, of the trailer, adding that it is stocked up again.

The Whitakers, along with family and friends, pooled their efforts together in order to bring food to the area to help those in need.

Mike and Thia Whitaker of Centerville stand across in the lot across from the Marathon gas that was destroyed by one of the Memorial Day tornadoes. They are handing out food and supplies to those in need.

“We were here the day after the tornadoes hit and started out with 100 hamburgers and 100 hot dogs,” Mike said. “Then it turned into something much more bigger than that. We are going to be here until we are not needed.”

The Whitakers were part of a massive effort over the weekend to help tornado victims.

Many organizations and churches such as the Christian Life Center on Little York Road, had volunteers out helping remove debris and deliver goods to those in need over the weekend.

MORE: More than $300K donated for tornado relief: ‘An outpouring of support’

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