Red Cross Helping Hazelwood Storm Victims

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HAZELWOOD, MO. (KTVI) - The Red Cross is reaching out in many ways to help Hazelwood residents displaced by Wednesday night`s tornado.

Among the efforts, a shelter at the Hazelwood Civic Center.

'When you don`t have a place to go, I`m thankful for anything right now. I mean cots and all,' said an emotional 38 year old LaTonya Alexander.

Latonya and her family stayed at the shelter Thursday night.  She, her 16 year old son and her 19 year hearing impaired daughter who is eight months pregnant all lived together at the Teson Garden apartments in Hazelwood.

The complex took a direct hit from the tornado.

Latonya and her family were in their top floor unit when the roof was ripped off.

Latonya is grateful for the shelter.
She told us, 'It`s like a breath of fresh air especially going back there and seeing what you had is gone. You are able to eat, sleep, you know, it`s a blessing.'

Rosiland Matthews and her fiancé slept at the shelter too on Thursday night.

They lived at Teson Gardens as well.

'I`ve never had to be here so it`s a different experience for me. We never know where we`ll end up from one day to the next. One day I`m out working and in my own place and the next day I`m in a shelter- so it`s just overwhelming,' said Matthews.

Seven people most from Teson Gardens stayed at the shelter Thursday night.

Red Cross officials say they try to make it more than just cots and blankets.

'It goes from being a place for someone to put their head and sleep at night to an information center to a gathering point- we serve meals out of there,' explained Mary Anderson with the Red Cross.

For Rosiland, LaTonya and others who lost basically everything, the shelter is a starting point to rebuilding their lives.

'I can`t complain, can`t complain,' said a tearful LaTonya pointing to the sky.

The Red Cross says it served dinner to about 100 people on Thursday night at the shelter.

We`re told the shelter at the Hazelwood Civic Center will stay open as long as it`s needed.

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