If anyone still doesn’t believe that “Internet Friends” are just as real as “In Real Life Friends”, then they’ve never been in a crisis situation.
To help with tornado relief, you have ordered over $1,200 of items off of the Christian Service Mission’s Amazon Wish List (you’re part of the reason that UPS had to reserve an entire truck just to deliver there!!), and have given $1,145 to my Mommies Helping Mommies fund – I am completely blown away, and so thankful!!
Plus, you were an invaluable asset to me as I set off into my couponing adventures, trying to make the Mommies Helping Mommies fund stretch as far as possible. I got great advice, and my mailbox was filled with packages of coupons, diapers, and formula from you!
And I think you’ll be proud of my couponing success.
I did my research, I planned my attack, and I left victorious. On my first shopping day, I spent $675 of the fund, and by a powerful combination of Formula Checks, Manufacturer’s Coupons, Store Coupons, Cash Back Cards, Store Sales, and Amazon Mom’s subscribe and save program, I saved $376!
(And yes, I did remember to cancel my Amazon Mom subscriptions so that 8 jumbo boxes of diapers don’t show up on my doorstep once a month, every month.)
This is where about $500 of your money went (Amazon hadn’t delivered the rest yet):
I jammed it all in my car, along with some toys that Ali picked out to give, and with a bit of Twitter research, decided on my first destination: Henager, Alabama – two hours north of Birmingham.
Henager’s county, Dekalb, had one of the worst outbreaks of tornadoes, yet had hardly received any help – FEMA just arrived there this week. I knew this was a place that needed your help.
My friend Ashley and I drove up Wednesday morning. The drive was gorgeous – hills, farms, beautiful countryside, until quite suddenly everything changed.
House addresses were labeled like this:
Because many of the houses now look like this:
We passed out of that swath of tornado damage and arrived at our destination: Henagar Baptist Church.
It was an amazing place – Church members were busy volunteering to help run their kitchen and their storehouse of goods for the community:
They were allowing anyone to come, shower, eat, rest, and get whatever they needed – no strings attached, no FEMA paperwork required – and all of this despite the fact that many of the volunteers had lost so much, as well.
The precious Church secretary that I’d talked to Monday never even mentioned that she herself had lost everything – she was joyfully and tirelessly volunteering to help her town.
The Church’s pastor lost his house as the tornado passed through one side of it,
And then it completely leveled his mother’s house:
Leaving her every belonging in a pile of ruins.
And their family was devastated that she herself did not survive the storm.
They told us another heartbreaking story of one of their church families – the mother was picked up out of the house and thrown behind it, and was killed immediately. The three children – 15, 6, and 2 years old, were all severely injured. The father was at work, unable to get to their house for four hours due to all of the storm damage. Fortunately, one of the neighbors saw the two younger children wandering around what was left of their house, and she was able to get them to the hospital.
Despite all of this, dozens in their church were there, joyfully volunteering their time to help their very needy community.
I was so blessed to get to meet them.
I was able to replenish their baby needs tables with your donations:
One of the workers told me that it was exactly the right timing – they had been nearly completely out of formula on Monday, but God had provided through several people and our delivery, and now they had enough!
She was so thrilled in telling me that God had provided for all of their shortages just like that – right at the exact time they needed it.
She told me that the toy area had been one of the most exciting things for the children, so I was so glad to be able to add to it, as well.
Despite the fact that so many of their houses looked like this,
or were just piles of rubble left on the side of the road,
they were blessing others and, quite frankly, a blessing to me. Their hearts, their attitudes, their willingness to pour their lives into serving – it was convicting and inspiring.
And thank YOU for being true friends to me and my state!
If you would like to help in these continued efforts, I will be making relief trips to various communities over the next several weeks.
Also, the Christian Service Mission has been able greatly help dozens of communities by purchases sent to them off of their Amazon Wish List – just click, order, and it’s automatically sent straight to them!
Coupons and formula checks are also greatly helping – if you have some to spare, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on where to send them.
Thank you again!