Touching Down

Assist helping hands take on many tasks—from debris removal to household improvement.

This past January, Cal Lutheran’s Community Service Center hosted a Winter Service Trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, an area still recovering from a 1.5 mile-wide swath of destruction caused by an F4 tornado the previous spring. Seven students and two CLU staff members traveled to the area and rolled up their sleeves for five full days of debris cleanup, rebuilding, and setting up an off-site clothing distribution center to help low-income survivors of the disaster. Sharing her memories of the trip, Cal Lutheran Pastor Melissa Maxwell-Doherty said, “One man we encountered poured out his soul to us telling us his ‘tornado’ story. While it was a gift to us to learn about the experience from one who was there, I believe he took steps toward healing simply by telling his story.”

“In Alabama, there was a feeling of despair in the air. We met one man who cried and deeply touched my heart when he said, ‘We can never repay you for dedicating your time to help us rebuild our town and our lives.’ I felt happy to be there and to see the smiling faces of those we were helping.”

- Astrid Olivares, Sophomore
Hometown: Lancaster, Ca
Majors: Biochemistry And Psychology