Published: May 06, 2011 6:13 PM EDT
Updated: May 06, 2011 2:56 PM EDT

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.-- Volunteers in Port Charlotte are gathering aid for tornado-ravaged Alabama.

They are filling up three trucks with donations bound for Centre, Alabama, northeast of Birmingham.

"The goal here is to get as much food as possible," volunteer Laury Couture explained.

Crews at the First Alliance Church at 20444 Midway Blvd. in Port Charlotte want to fill three trucks with food, toys and hygiene items before 10 o'clock Friday night.

"We always know that there's a need," Couture said. "But we tend to think other people are meeting the need."

Gary and Nancy Brewster stopped by Friday afternoon to make a donation.

They are University of Alabama grads living in Charlotte County. Their daughter still lives in Alabama.

"We talked to our daughter this morning and she says people are living in tents," Nancy told WINK News. "There's just nothing there."

"Utter devastation," added Gary. "Stuff is gone."

While she's seen the images of devastation and heartbreak, volunteer Laury Couture knows she'll find faces filled with hope when she arrives in Centre, AL Saturday afternoon.

"I also expect to see some joy and people feeling blessed that they've come through this alive and that others are reaching out and helping them."

Some donors say they feel a sense of obligation after having experienced mother nature's fury first hand.

"We lived here when Charley hit in 04," the Brewsters recalled. "So we think this is wonderful to see people pulling together."

Tony Caniglia's church typically donates food to food shelters in Charlotte County. But this week, they decided to send what they could to those suffering in Alabama.

"Years ago we experienced hurricane Charley. We were in trouble. So now, we help others."

Donations will be accepted until 10 o'clock Friday night.

They are also hoping to raise $2,000 to pay for gas for the three trucks to make the 12-hour journey.

The trucks will hit the road at 4 a.m. Saturday morning.