MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) A Mobile elementary school teacher is turning debris from something tragic into relief for storm victims.
Carey Arensberg has been collecting wood from damaged homes, businesses and churches and making crosses to sell for profit. That profit will all go back to folks who lost their homes and belongings in the Christmas Day tornado.
Arensberg has seen so much destruction in her neighborhood and feels so blessed, that she decided to do something to help the people around her.
With every stroke of her paintbrush she's making a difference in the lives of her friends and neighbors who lost so much.
"It's my way of helping out. I wanted to make something out of it that would give people a memory of rebuilding midtown," said Arensberg.
Literally crafted from the destruction, the crises crosses come in all shapes, sizes and colors but all have the same powerful message.
"The cross gives people a little bit of hope that everything is going to be ok," said Arensberg.
Before Arensberg can create a crisis cross, she has to find the wood to make one. So each morning she travels neighborhood to neighborhood, house to house, looking through debris. Her morning stop Friday was at Trinity Episcopal Church where she was able to find a few pieces to work with.
"Each piece is tagged with which street it came from. This one says Murphy High School," said Arensberg.
Sam Kearns lives in Midtown Mobile. He stopped by to make a purchase for his mother.
"To me it represents how much God is looking over us. No one was seriously injured," said Kearns.
Kearns is feeling exceptionally blessed. He played football at the University of Alabama where he survived the devastating Tuscaloosa tornado.
"It's just so weird that two years later on Christmas Day another big tornado comes through," said Kearns.
To Arensberg's surprise, the artwork has been instantly popular. In the first 24 hours she made $1,200, all to give back to tornado victims.
"We're looking for families who maybe didn't have wind insurance, who maybe lost a lot. It's just for families and churches that need our help and I'd like to get care packages together too. Every family needs toilet paper, cleaning supplies, things insurance doesn't cover," said Arensberg.
She hopes her work attracts people from around the country who want to help the community she knows and loves.