MHS Reaches Out to Hattiesburg, Oak Grove

President Obama has declared a major disaster in the state of Mississippi as a result of a massive tornado that destroyed or heavily damaged more than 800 homes in the southern part of the state Sunday.

Federal aid will be made available to supplement state and local recovery efforts in Forrest and Lamar counties.

Meanwhile, Meridian High School is helping in the recovery effort.

"I'm pretty sure a lot of students were thinking about them after Sunday, so it was really important and on our hearts to give to them," said Raven Roberts, MHS Student Council president.

In sports, Meridian and Oak Grove high schools are two hard-hitting rivals that give each other a run for their money. But since the devastating storms of this past week, students and staff at MHS wanted to do something to help.

"MHS has come together to raise funds for Oak Grove High School and Hattiesburg High School as a campaign relief drive to show our support during the disaster that they have endured from the tornado this past Sunday," said MHS principal, Victor Hubbard.

Hubbard says there are other schools and organizations that are also helping these communities, but it was especially important for Meridian to help its arch rival.

"That if it had happened to Meridian High School we would surely want someone to reach out to us," said Hubbard. "We know that we have a rivalry with Oak Grove High School; it is a friendly rivalry and we want to show them that we are behind them, that we are supporting them in their efforts in this time of disaster."

The fundraiser has been going on all week, and students say they're excited to be able to help.

"We just really wanted to show our support for each school and let them know we are thinking about them during their time of need," said Roberts.

The latest numbers from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency show 194 homes were destroyed. Another 376 suffered major damage. There were 80 injuries, two of them critical, but no one has died from Sunday's tornadoes.