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Free2Be rebuilds after tornado damage forces them out of former office

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.  - There are many people still getting things put back together after the tornadoes in late November. The storm forced the non-profit, Free2Be, out of its office. It damaged the building so bad, they couldn't even go inside. WHNT NEWS 19 Pays it Forward as they start over.

In a week's time, Free2Be went from a condemned space to a new one.

"That was totally unexpected because it has everything we need," says CEO James Robinson.

When the storm came through, it nearly leveled Free2Be's former location. But now, Robinson says they're picking up what they can and moving on.

"It's a great office," describes Robinson. "It was a medical office. We've got these two nice restrooms, a great reception area and the doors are wide enough for the wheelchairs."

There's room for everyone and everything.

"All these rooms are going to be counseling rooms and individual offices," says Robinson. "In the other building when we moved in, we had one small closet in the hallway, no storage and every room was being used for counseling and therapists. Here, we have a little bit of room for expansion as we continue to grow."

For now, that growth will happen one day at a time.

"I can't tell you how happy we are and how surprised we are that it fell together so quickly," says Robinson.

Another source of joy during a difficult situation is support from the community. People have been making donations online and bringing in bags of items. On the day WHNT NEWS 19 visited the new location, a woman dropped off had one of their most important and useful office tools.

"A coffee pot!" exclaims Robinson. "Coffee immediately. Can't do a lot in here without some coffee."

WHNT NEWS 19 had a surprise of our own, Paying it Forward with $319.

"Thank you so much," says Robinson. "Everything helps. Just to be able to go to Dollar General to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Everything helps."

Robinson says they did have insurance and coverage for some things, but of course, that money doesn't come quickly and they have a lot of expenses right now as they move.