I’m going to go back to “normal” blogging next week, although I’ll still be, I’m sure, in tornado-mindset personally.
However, many of you have asked how you can help, so I wanted to compile a list of a few easy ways to help the many hurting people of our state.
But first, here is a stunning view of some of the damage by the biggest of the tornadoes. This video shows part of the damage in Tuscaloosa (where the University of Alabama is located and we attend football games), and the damage between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham:
This tornado alone travelled over 300 miles with a 1.5 to 2 mile wide damage path. The video just shows a sampling of the devastation. It shocks me every time I see it.
Please don’t feel like I am pushing you to donate at all – there are so many needs in our world right now, and our state is not the only one hurting from these tornadoes. However, I did want to provide this information for the people who have asked for it.
There are hundreds of relief efforts and programs set up and dozens of listings of said opportunities, so I obviously can’t list them all and don’t want to be redundant. Instead, I’m listing very few, but focusing on ones that I personally know are trustworthy. I have a few locally based options that can vouch for their integrity, and a couple of trusted national options if you’d rather go that route.
1. My church, Shades Mountain Independent Church, is partnering with an organization we often work with, Mission Birmingham, to help with relief efforts. We are collecting items for the people so severely impacted by the storm (clothing, water, diapers, food, toiletries – basically any items for immediate needs), and also are channeling monetary donations under the “Tornado Relief Fund” category directly to Mission Birmingham’s tornado relief efforts.
Mission Birmingham is a locally based, smaller operation, so I feel that they are able to more efficiently and quickly use funds donated to meet immediate needs than some of the larger, more bureaucratic aid organizations.
If you have items that you’d like to donate, you can drop them off at SMIC or mail them to me and I will drop them off – just ask me for my address.
2. The three families that I mentioned that Ali and I helped yesterday are in desperate need, as well as their neighborhood in general (of which there is nothing left). One of the families has 13 children, and their father was killed after throwing himself on top of the family to save their lives. Many of the children were injured as well. I don’t know this family personally, but I know many people who do know them very well – I’ve been constantly seeing updates about them via my friends on Facebook. Lora Lynn at Vitafamiliae talks more about these wonderful families, as well as this post.
These families need everything, as they’ve lost everything. If you have items you’d like to donate, I’ll get them to them for you. Or to monetarily donate directly via Paypal to a fund set up by two local churches for the people of the community, you can click on the “Donate Now” button below:
If you’re local/semi-local and want to volunteer or give items:
1. The Christian Service Mission needs volunteers to sort and organize donated items, help prepare and serve meals in the areas hardest hit, and assist in clean up efforts. If you would like to volunteer your time in any of these areas, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (205) 252-9906.
2. There are MANY drop-off locations for all products to meet immediate needs. As I said, my church is one, and BirminghamMommy.com has many more listed as well.
If you’d rather give to a national aid organization:
1. You can donate $10 to The Salvation Army tornado disaster fund by texting GIVE to 80888.
2. You can donate $10 to Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or going to their donation page.
Feel free to ask me if you have any questions or would like any more specific details – I’d be glad to help!