TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Memphis softball team spent nearly four hours Thursday morning volunteering at a temporary emergency services center at an old Foodmax grocery store in the tornado devestated area around Tuscaloosa.

The team arrived in town Wednesday night for the NCAA softball regional and the entire travel party participated in the volunteer effort. The squad then practiced Thursday afternoon following the good-will measure.

Once the team arrived at the collection center at 9 a.m., everyone was split into various groups to help sort items such as food, bedding, housewares and clothing. In addition, one group also assisted with cleaning the area outside of the center of debris left from the unpacking of supplies. 

There was an amazing amount of items that have been donated from all around the country. The items will be sorted and then distributed to those in need based on their requested items.

The volunteer effort was set up by Memphis coach Windy Thees, who contacted Alabama head coach Pat Murphy once she knew her team would be playing in Tuscaloosa. Murphy put her in touch with the organization that has been coordinating the volunteer efforts since the tornado struck. The workers appreciated the assistance and while it was only a few hours, it was a rewarding experience for players, coaches and everyone involved.

"It felt good to help out the people who are obviously hurting from the disaster that happened," said senior Kailey Kassner.  "I sorted clothes and it felt good to be able to help out people who are less fortunate right now.

"I didn't know what to expect when we came into town and saw all the devastation. It was just appalling to see that. I felt my heart drop as soon as I saw all the damage. Seeing all of that last night made we want to help out so much more [Thursday]."