LAKELAND, Fla — A Lakeland church is cleaning up after severe weather pounded the area late Friday.
Some of the hardest hit places include North Lakeland and Kathleen in the northwest part of Polk County.
The National Weather Service estimates an EF-2 tornado with up to 120 mph winds tore through buildings, downed power lines and uprooted trees.
Mt. Tabor Baptist Church located on Mt. Tabor Rd had its food pantry destroyed and part of the church damaged.
Storm damage from EF-2 tornado in Kathleen
“The whole building is a total loss,” Pastor Matt Gilmore said of the food pantry. “One of my first thoughts was how am I going to get food to these 200 people - that’s what I got to figure out.”
The church food bank helps feed between 175 to 250 families every week.
“They probably leave with 40 to 50 pounds of food,” Gilmore said. “All the food is stored in that house.”
Gilmore got a first-hand look of the damage to the church early Saturday.
“I saw it last night in the dark but seeing it this morning it’s real,” Gilmore said.
Churches are offering assistance, he said.
“We are not going to stop doing what we do,” Gilmore said. “This is our opportunity to love the community. All of it can be replaced.”
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