Neighbors help folks devastated by Cape tornado

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-11 22:34:53-05

As families work to pick up the pieces of their broken homes after a powerful tornado ripped through southwest Cape Coral, one woman and her workplace are accepting clothing, toys, and linen donations for people affected.

Tara DeMond and her husband came home from their trip to St. Louis after they got a call that their home was hit.

"It was devastating. I mean, there was people all over my yard that I didn't know. I just wanted them to get out of my yard and give me my privacy so I could come in and see my home," Tara DeMond said.

Crushed glass and a red unsafe notice marked the entrance to the home, the ceiling was caved in over their master bed, and water covered the floor.

Part of their roof was torn off, water was bubbling in the ceiling, and their lanai and everything on it was damaged or blown away.

"But then we have a wind chime that's hanging back there that looks like it's not even been touched," DeMond said.

The mysterious nature of tornadoes like the one tearing through southwest Cape Coral left other homes in the area nearly untouched, like Susan Bennett's.

"I started crying. When you're blessed, you're blessed," she said. "When you look at your neighbors and they have no home left and you do, you just have to do something," Bennett continued.

She and her coworkers at Century 21 Sunbelt on Cape Coral Parkway are accepting donations for those affected by the 125 mile per hour winds.

In one afternoon, their entryway filled with toys, linens, shoes, and clothing for all ages.

"They can come to our office and if they are in need of clothes or towels or linens or toys, just come in," Bennett said.

She may not know all of their names, but she shares a zip code, a street sign, or a friendly hello while walking her dog with folks devastated by the storm.

"To see how everybody came together in this neighborhood just alone has been great," DeMond said. "My animals are OK, my neighbors are fine, and that's all we can really ask for," she continued.

The DeMonds are being put up in a hotel until they can find a place to stay while their home is being fixed.

If you've been affected by the storm and would like to pick up some items from Century 21 Sunbelt, all you have to do is show your ID with your address and can take what you want.

If you have any items to spare, your donations are greatly appreciated.

Their office is located at 725 Cape Coral Parkway, and they are open Monday through Friday from 8AM-6PM.