Churches were among some of the first organizations to respond after tornadoes ripped through lower Alabama Sunday morning.
The Opelika-Auburn News reports at least 23 people were killed and 50 injured after the storms devastated the area. The death toll is expected to rise.
"The storm appears to have placed a quarter-mile wide, probably more, path. We'll know more tomorrow," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said. "And we're talking several miles that it traveled on the ground. The damage is significant.
Local churches rushed to the rescue, though, opening emergency shelters and organizing relief efforts.
Church of the Highlands, a Birmingham-based megachurch with campuses in the area, was among the churches to immediately respond.
Church of the Highlands declined an interview request, but did post relief information on Facebook.
Other churches immediately went into action, as well.
"First and foremost, be praying for the families affected by this devastating storm. We are thankful that the Lord has a plan even in the midst of what seems like chaos, but as believers we are responsible for being the hands and feet of Christ during this trying time. Until we're able to physically go out and serve, prayer is the best plan of attack. One of our pastors is currently serving as a disaster relief chaplain, please be praying for his ministry," according to the Lakeview Baptist website.
Lakeview is in Auburn, Alabama.
Pastors and politicians alike called for prayer in the aftermath of the devastation.
Just spoke to @VP Pence, & he said he's keeping Alabama in his thoughts and prayers as we work to get things back on track. Our hearts are full because of the support we're receiving on the national & local level. Thank you ALL!— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) March 4, 2019
To the great people of Alabama and surrounding areas: Please be careful and safe. Tornadoes and storms were truly violent and more could be coming. To the families and friends of the victims, and to the injured, God bless you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2019
Please pray for Lee County as the residents work together after the storm.
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