Local business rallies around Newnan family left homeless following devastating tornado
NEWNAN, Ga - The Paytons' Newnan home was reduced to rubble when an EF-4 tornado struck nearly two weeks ago. Now members of the community are helping them get back on their feet.
From the moment 5-year-old Kensleigh walked into Madeline Haskin's karate studio there was an instant connection, so when Haskins learned the girl and her grandparents had lost everything in the tornado she wanted to help.
Haskins told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes, "We wanted to come together for her".
This is a view of the destruction from SKYFOX drone. The Newnan family and their neighbors suffered some of the worst damage.
The Paytons had lived in the residence on Colonial Drive for 16 years. Kensleigh lost her mother recently and lives with her grandparents.
Aaron Payton was at work, his wife Mary home with Kensleigh when the tornado struck.
RELATED: More than 1,700 homes damaged, 70 destroyed in Coweta County by EF-4 tornado
Miraculously, the woman and child escaped unharmed, but the family's house was destroyed.
"She was in there for about an hour before a neighbor up the street come down and helped her out," said Payton.
As news of the devastation spread, staff at Karate Atlanta-Newnan began checking on students and their families
"When the tornado happened we reached out to all of our students saying, 'Please check-in, please check-in, is everyone OK?' And they were the only ones who lost everything," Haskins said.
Staff at the karate school rallied 'round the family. A local church and businesses also stepped in to help. Haskins started a GoFundMe page to help the family cover expenses while they work to get back on their feet.
"We've just gotten such a great response all around with the clothes, toys, the GoFundMe. It's really cool to see the community come together."
Anyone who would like to help the Paytons can make a donation to their GoFundMe.
WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage
Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts
Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.