Native American tribe donates $184,000 to cover funeral costs for Alabama tornado victims

A Native American tribe in Alabama is donating $184,000 as part of an effort to cover the funeral costs for the 23 people who died this week in an outbreak of tornadoes.

“The Tribe is making a $184,000 donation to the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation to assist in the burial of the victims from last Sunday’s devastating tornado in Lee County, AL," Stephanie A. Bryan, Tribal Chair and CEO of Poarch Band of Creek Indians, said in a Facebook post last week.

"It is at times of greatest need that we often see our communities coming together to help one another, this is one of those times. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected.” 

Lee County coroner Bill Harris confirmed the size of the donation to CNN. The coroner told the network that the tribe agreed to increase its donation by more than $100,000 after another donor backed out of the initial arrangement. 

The money from the tribe will be donated to East Alabama Medical Center Foundation to make sure none of it is spent on administrative costs, CNN noted.

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"My goal was to be able to provide what the families wanted" for "this casket or this service without having to scrimp because they didn't have the money," Harris said. "These folks have stepped up for a community need, and I appreciate that."

Harris added that other local organizations have pitched in to cover funeral costs. He said that a notable person from Alabama pledged to donate $10,000 for footmarkers for graves.  

The community effort comes as Lee County grapples with the damage incurred by an outbreak of tornadoes that killed 23 people, including several children.  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE and First Lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump breaks ground on new White House tennis pavilion Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Buttigieg unveils aggressive plan to lower drug prices | Supreme Court abortion case poses major test for Trump picks | Trump takes heat from right over vaping crackdown Kroger to stop sales of e-cigarettes at stores MORE visited the region and met with victims' families last week. Trump also signed an emergency disaster declaration that authorized federal aid for parts of the state. 

According to its website, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Native American tribe in Alabama. The tribe manages a number of businesses, including gaming facilities and hotels.