By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor
Whether it’s picking up a chainsaw to cut trees or bringing people food at a restaurant, everyone has different ways of helping the city of Jacksonville and the surrounding communities following the devastating tornado last week.
For Savanna Parsons, she is just doing what she’s good at and that’s talking to people and making connections.
Parsons, an Alexandria High graduate, has been a waitress at Heroes: An American Grille on Highway 21 for the last eight months while also juggling multiple other jobs and being a student at Jacksonville State University.
Less than 48 hours after her friends and sister, Olivia, were displaced because of the EF3 tornado which struck JSU’s campus, Parsons took to social media to announce her way of helping:
“(I’m) Donating all of my tips made at work (Wednesday) through Sunday to my people in need! I work at Heroes in Jacksonville! Stop by for a drink, food, or just to donate.”
But the helpfulness doesn’t stop there.
Parsons is also a member of JSU’s Alpha Xi Delta chapter.
Last summer, she went to a conference and made connections to many other chapters around the country. When those chapters heard about last week’s events, they immediately reached out and started donating clothes and other necessities.
“At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it or not because I didn’t want people to think I was wanting it to all be about me,” Parsons said during a brief break Sunday evening before an expected party of 30 people arrived. “I’m really just trying to help people. Like, there’s a girl in my education department who has nothing now and is about to graduation and I really just wanted to do something.”
Prior to her shift Sunday, Parsons said she has earned over $1,300 in tips after working Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. She went on to say she’s planning to share it with anyone who needs help.
“I really want to give it to anyone who has been affected,” Parsons said. “We have a guy here at work and I plan to give him some because he found out his apartment is pretty bad. There’s another girl who lost her entire house but doesn’t go to JSU, so a lot of people aren’t talking about those areas that need help, too.”
Parsons said she’s able to do this, because she’s budgeted her money months before and is months ahead on her monthly rent payment. A combination of “probably the highest paying night of the year so far” on St. Patrick’s Day just a week ago and not going on spring break also helped her out.
“I believe we are a really small community and everyone knows everyone,” Parsons said. “Since we are a small school, it’s easy to find out how to help and what people need, so that’s what it’s all about … helping one another.”