Hundreds of miles away, Lowcountry helps Alabama victims

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - People in the Lowcountry with ties to Alabama are teaming up to help the victims of that state.

A twister ripped through Alabama last Wednesday, leaving death and destruction in its path. Families are homeless, roads where buildings used to stand are now empty.

The largest tornado is recent memory in the south has people mourning, including one University of Alabama alum, who is making a difference more than 400 miles away in Charleston.

"It was completely devastating for me," said Matthew Bees, owner of Niche Interiors. "I couldn't get in touch with a lot of people, then all the pictures and video started coming on TV."

Bees is a Greenville, Al. native and he graduated from the University of Alabama in 2005.

"Alabama is near and dear to my heart, I'll always be an Alabamian," Bees said.

Bees opened up Niche Interiors in December and since Thursday, he has opened up to anyone wanting to make a donation to help victims in Alabama.

"You look at the pictures and your heart breaks for these people and it's not just Alabama, its Georgia, Mississippi, it looks like bombs went off," said Kathy Smith of Niche Interiors.

Bees says since hanging his Alabama flag in front of his store, donations have picked up.

"A lot of people have come in who recognize it, they immediately have a story," he said.

This isn't the first time Bees has helped out in a crisis. You could say it's in his blood.

"I remember when I was a child and I collected money for Hurricane Hugo relief and I feel like it's something we can all identify with," Bees said.

All money he raises is going straight to the Governor's relief fund of Alabama. He says he will continue to raise funds until Alabama is back on its feet.

"Places you walked by daily on campus are gone, people are lost, something you can't grasp," Bees said.

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