Lowe’s Bucket Brigade helping in Hurricane Zeta cleanup

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Lowe’s is taking home improvement to a whole new level. Lowe’s stores are going above and beyond to help people rebuild and recover after Hurricane Zeta one bucket of cleaning supplies at a time.

The line was long, but so is the road to recovery for South Mississippians in the wake of Hurricane Zeta, but one national retailer is on the front lines, equipping storm victims with what they need to clean up and rebuild through Lowe’s Bucket Brigade.

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Damika Balam was among the first in line at Wednesday’s drive-thru giveaway. “A tree fell on our fence and we lost some siding on the front of the house.”

Cleanup and rebuilding is a family affair for Balam, her great-grandmother, and cousin who were all on board. “Clean it up. You can’t just sit around and leave it dirty. My great-grandmother here, she says her house is still tore up.”

In all, Lowe’s gave out buckets at six locations, including one in Metairie, Louisiana, and several locations throughout South Mississippi, including this Lowe’s store in D’Iberville. D’Iberville Lowe’s Store Manager Jesse Hahn said, “It’s what we do, and we do this all over the country. Any kind of natural disaster-wildfire, snowstorm-you’re going to see Lowe’s employees in red vests, giving out buckets. That’s what we do.”

Taking home improvement to a whole new level here in South Mississippi, lending a helping hand to those who need it most. Biloxi resident Richard Okoniewski said, “It’s a testament to their willingness to help rebuild.”

For this Biloxi homeowner, he’ll take help wherever he can find it. “I figured it would be a good idea to come down and see what it’s all about. My dog is definitely a handful although he only has three legs. He’s going to help. We’ll be in the backyard cleaning up today.”

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned....