Saturday’s Summerfest to benefit storm victims
One Decatur mom’s small vision has turned into a large tornado relief project for Phil Campbell, East Franklin and Hackleburg with the help of many area businesses.
Andrea Owensby, who works at a learning center in Decatur, said she was saddened when she found out about all the devastation after the April 27 tornadoes, especially when she found out some of the children at the learning center had been affected.
“As a mother and a teacher, hearing those children had lost everything just broke my heart,” Owensby said.
“As adults, we are resilient, but children aren’t able to cope as well when they lose everything they’ve ever had or known.”
Owensby knew she needed to do something to help so she started making phone calls, and eventually Summerfest was born.
Summerfest will take place this Saturday at the Northwest-Shoals Community College’s Phil Campbell campus from 12 to 5 p.m. Activities will include inflatables, face painting, carnival games and the Space and Rocket Center’s Sci-Quest.
Owensby said the event is completely free since it is geared towards the children who were affected by the tornadoes, but all families in the area are encouraged to attend.
“I wanted this to be a day of free fun where these tornado victims didn’t have to worry about paying for anything,” Owensby said. “But we will have donation buckets set up around the area so other people who come to the event can make a donation to help these people who lost so much.”
Owensby said the donations collected at Summerfest will go directly to the Josh Willingham Foundation, which has assured event coordinators that 100 percent of the money would stay local.
She also added there would be a silent auction to help raise money with items like passes to Point Mallard and movie theater vouchers up for grabs.
“There’s no way I could have done this without the help of so many people and business who have volunteered or given donations,” she said. “The support has just been unreal.”
Owensby said several local businesses – including the owners of the Haleyville, Double Springs and Russellville Subway restaurants – have gone above and beyond what she asked because they wanted to help the tornado victims.
“I really think this is going to be a great day where these kids can forget all that has happened and just relax and have a good time,” Owensby said.