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'It's the least we could do': Salado community making food for tornado victims

Toby Hatton, a volunteer coordinator for the Cedar Valley Tornado Incident, says it's been important to give families the essentials as they look to rebuild.

SALADO, Texas — As families in Salado still look for ways to rebuild after Tuesday's EF-3 tornado, some folks in parts that weren't hit are finding ways to provide for victims in need.

Toby Hatton, a volunteer coordinator for the Cedar Valley Tornado Incident, says it's been important to give families the essentials as they look to bounce back from losing so much.

"Immediately after the storm neighbors were focused on helping with finding if anybody was trapped," Hatton told me. "It's been a unified response, providing food, clothing, helping people clean."

While Hatton has been working with donors to gather amenities, his own home community decided to take action as well.

Bryan Clemons and his neighbors watched as the tornado decimated homes not too far from where he lives on FM-2843. He says as he watched, one thing instantly came to mind.

"We gotta cook," Clemons said. "People are gonna need food." 

A victim of tornadoes in the past, Clemons says it was really just part of his nature to think of providing food for others the moment tragedy struck.

"In moments like this, you grab your pit and you start cooking and start feeding people," Clemons told me.

Joined by generations of family, neighbors and anyone who was willing to lend some ground beef, Clemons and others started cooking food that was delivered to people who lost power and water.

For him, it's not about earning any sort of recognition, but since his community is right on the edge of some of the worst damage and destruction, he says it's the least he and his community could do.

"I'm just the guy lighting up the grill and checking on burgers and briskets. After watching people lose their homes, it's the least we could do," he said.

Clemons and his neighbors will continue feeding families and look forward to frying fish and sausage tomorrow for people celebrating Good Friday. He says they will also get something in the works for Easter Sunday too. 

Hatton and his team share Clemons' sentiments and say they will continue providing food, clothes and any other essentials to tornado victims for as long as they have to.

RELATED: Missing keepsakes? Salado Public Library hoping to return found mementos to tornado victims

RELATED: Update: 13 more structures damaged by Salado tornado, upping total to 76

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