Humanitarian Organization Helping Oaklawn Tornado Victims

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

A humanitarian organization with local ties worked with volunteers Saturday afternoon on a project called Rebuild Oaklawn. Their goal is to bring relief to the families whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the April 14 tornadoes.

Less than a year ago, James Barfield and DJ Newman created Liberate Humanity, a nonprofit organization with a simple mission statement: Love thy neighbor.

“My family has always been a giving family. Growing up, even when we didn't have it we always gave and that's been embedded in me and my cousin to always give back,” Liberate Humanity co-founder James Barfield said.

Their goal is to help victims of natural disasters around the world. In April, disaster struck just a few miles from the city where the cousins were born and raised.

“I was just out there last week. A lot of families still have tarps and things on their homes. I think it's the small things we take for granted that can be wiped away tomorrow,” Barfield said.

Volunteers packed up boxes full of small things they hope will make a big difference. Most of the items were donated by businesses and some were the product of walk-in donations.

“I was just interested in helping the people of Oaklawn. I heard it on the radio so I gathered up my things and came from the west side,” Barbara Grier said after she dropped off several bags of items.

The cousins behind Liberate Humanity still have plans to do good on a global scale, but for now they say they're happy to stick close to home and put their mission statement into action.

"Hopefully this will spread awareness to help out people and have a whirlwind effect of showing love to thy neighbor,” Liberate Humanity co-founder DJ Newman said.

The boxes should be heading to the Oaklawn area by this Tuesday. The founders of Liberate Humanity say they are already planning their next service project to benefit the tornado victims in Oaklawn. If you'd like to help or donate, click here for more information.

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