A deadly tornado ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ohIVzIZLuQ ) hit the southeast and especially Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27th and I am grateful to whatever higher power exist that I and my loved ones and belongings are safe. With that being said, I have a great case of shock, panic, and survivor guilt. This is something that I have been trying to put in use for the volunteerism, to get out there and help and do things for the greater good. It has worked, but if I am not out there every minute the curfew will let us, the guilt begins to build up. The complete city has turned into a war zone, we have national guard hum-v’s, tanks, weird ass truck things I have never seen before, double sided helicopters and 1000 of them armed with automatic weapons. It is a place that we need them and a place where they are completely out of their element. The roads in Tuscaloosa were not built for their huge vehicles, in fact today they took out our mailbox, because they cannot fit down the roads. Please do not take this as complaining, but a compilation of my feelings that seem like a tornado indeed. I have had old and new friends text, facebook, tweet, and call me to see if I am alright and I truly thank them for caring enough to remember where I am in my life.
It is hard to get on facebook and see people out of this disaster site having fun, and going on with their everyday lives. I can’t remember what it is like now to use facebook as a tool of social networking, instead we are using it as a tool of relief communication.
My husband and I have been out the last two days by helping elementary school teachers whose schools have been demolished. We are gathering their stuff and moving it to their temporary schools until fall of next year. These kids who are affected and live in this town affected are going to need a sense of normalcy and routine as soon as we can get it for them.
(University Place Elementary School, Tuscaloosa Alabama)
Also earlier today we helped out a person whose house was demolished in the neighborhood of Arcadia and it was just amazing how everything that you own becomes important to you the moment that you have to make a decision on what you need to take at that moment in time. The person herself had a hard time taking the response for help. She was so shocked, that she thought she didn’t need help, it was like she was embarrassed, she ended up realizing she truly needed it. An all day or two day event took place within 3 hours.
(inside the house I was working)
(outside the house I was working)
I was not directly affected by the tornado, by the means that my stuff was damaged and that I still have a home. I was affected emotionally to a city where I have been living a love/hate relationship with for the past three years. The city that gave me my first job straight out of college, the city that my husband and I moved to together, the city where everyone comes together in the spirit of a college. I am a emotional wreck. I cried when the tornado was hitting as I was hiding in a closet and out of fear and anxiety snapped at someone in the room who I was close too (whom i have apologized to and I hope she forgives me), I cried at every footage I saw (finally on t.v. when we visited a friends house who had power), I was cold to my parents who called to check on me and my loved one, not out of annoyance, but out of shock, I cried the moment I went and saw one of the areas that was affected badly (Forrest Lake), I cried just looking up in the sky where I saw the tornado had given us a new skyline to see and holes in the ground that is just pure earth. I have had what I want to call permanent tears, its the same feeling you have when your allergies are really bad and your eyes keep on running, except this time the cause isn’t allergies. I will continue to help in anyway that I can to make sure that I help this city that I have learned to call home and the love/hate relationship for this city has just changed to love. We are Alabama.
Want to help?
1. Alabama Red Cross- 205-827-2681, 205-827-3113, 205-619-7181. Donate Now Link: https://chapterneighborhood.wufoo.com/forms/online-donations-midalabama-chapter. To those who have made a donation to the Red Cross Tuscaloosa/West Alabama chapter, PLEASE CHECK your receipt. Although someone clicked West Alabama, the donation got sent to Birmingham. If you have the same problem, call 205-439-7800 (press “6” for fundraising). If you haven’t made a donation, you may want to hold off until the issue is resolved. However, other sources say all money stays local. Use your judgment.
2. American Red Cross- Donate Now Link: https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=873325038&df_id=4993&4993.donation=form1
3. DCH Foundation’s Tornado Workers Assistance Fund- www.supportdch.org ORwww.dchsystem.com.
Please Designate Tuscaloosa Tornado Workers’ Assistance Fund
Checks mailed to: DCH Foundation, Inc., Tuscaloosa Tornado Workers’ Assistance Fund, 809 University Boulevard East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
4. Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund- Those of you who wish to make donations to the relief and cleanup for T-Town can make checks payable to and mail to West Alabama Chamber Of Commerce, PO Box 020410, Tuscaloosa, Al 35402. Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama- (205) 758-7588. http://www.tuscaloosachamber.com/
5. Governor’s Relief Fund for Tornado Relief
6. Salvation Army- www.salvationarmyusa.org. Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designate April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. Text “GIVE” to 80888. This does not necessarily designate Tornado victims. Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, GA 30384-0339. Designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak.”
7. Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions- Donate Now link:http://www.alsbom.org/feature1
8. United Way of West Alabama- 2720 Sixth Street, Suite 100, Tuscaloosa. 205-345-6640. Needs nonperishable food items, all clothes, tarps (blue or black), ladies’ hygiene products (to be distributed by the Red Cross), cash donations by credit card at www.uwwa.org (100 percent stays local).
9. Image Makers- 2518 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa. 205-366-1986. Official drop-off station for United Way. Needs personal items, snacks, pillows, bottled water, blankets, nonperishable foods, personal hygiene items and baby items.
10. Valley View Baptist Church- 8820 Hwy 69 South, Tuscaloosa. 205-752-0977. Needs clothes and cash to be distributed by the State Baptist Disaster Relief.
11. St. Mark United Methodist Church- 1421 McFarland Blvd., Northport, AL. 205-339-5990. Needs nonperishable food, clothes, volunteers with medical experience.
12. Alabama Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Agency- www.alsbom.org/feature5. Needs money for local relief and rebuilding churches.
13. First United Methodist Church- 800 Greensboro Ave., Tuscaloosa. 205-345-7261. Needs cash donations, water donations and people to unload water. For their school relief drive, donate highlighters, construction paper, reams of white cardstock, Post-It Notes, staplers and staples, tape dispensers and tape, black and red pens, adult scissors, paper clips, hole punchers, copy paper. Please purchase a plastic bin (with lid) of appropriate size to contain your donated items. Bring that bin to the church and place it in the Chanda Fehler Room. (This is the birthday party room next door to the gym.) We would love to have these supplies no later than Tuesday, May 3. These supplies will then be taken to the teachers who have lost years of classroom resources and materials.
14. Compassionate Coalition- 205-561-4169 or 205-349-2797. Needs volunteers for debris cleanup, help filling out insurance and FEMA paperwork for elderly, disabled and low-income people.
15. Capstone Church- 1907 University Blvd., 205-366-1581. Needs nonperishable foods, water, diapers, baby food.
16. Temporary Emergency Services- 1705 15th St., 205-758-5535. Immediate needs: Non-perishable food items, clothing, all sizes, tarps (blue/black for covering holes in roofs). Also, toiletries, bottled water, and monetary donations.
17. Tuscaloosa Academy- 205-758-4462. 420 Rice Valley Rd. N. Needs clothing.
18. Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe- 2208 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa. 205-758-3065. Items needed: water, canned goods, diapers, children’s clothing, etc. Drop off between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
19. TourismCARES- 1305 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa. Will begin accepting donations on Monday. Canned goods, money, clothes, etc. They are working with the local Red Cross and United Way.
20. Verner Elementary- 205-759-3667. 2701 Northridge Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406-1641. Donate school supplies.
21. Alma Foundation/Sweet Home Fund c/o Bryant Bank- PO Box 2087, Birmingham, AL 35201. Coach Anthony Grant has opened a foundation to support the rebuilding and restoration projects. You can make a donation at any Bryant Bank in the state. You can mail in to the above address or make deposits with the tellers at any Bryant Bank location.
22. The Downs neighborhood- near Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35401. Need chainsaws and operators today and tomorrow.
23. University of Alabama Acts of Kindness Fund- All contributions made will be used to help University staff and students.
24. Tuscaloosa City Board of Education- 1210 21st Avenue, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401. 205-759-3700. Items may be brought or shipped. Supplies for Students Include: Clear or mesh backpacks, Notebook paper, Scissors, Rulers, Pencils, Pens, Binders, Crayons, Calculators for middle and high school students, Markers, Three-pronged folders. Supplies for Teachers Include: Crayons, Highlighters, Markers, Safety scissors, Construction paper, 20 lb. white copy paper.
25. Tuscaloosa City PTA Council Tornado Disaster Relief Fund-http://www.helptuscaloosaschools.com/. Accepts monetary donations for Alberta Elementary and University Place in the city of Tuscaloosa and Holt Elementary in Tuscaloosa County.
26. Convoy of Hope- www.convoyofhope.com. Make monetary donations online. Convey of hope is partnering with Calvary Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, 1121 Paul W Bryant Drive. They will be giving away free food every day (as long as it is needed and as long as they have the food to give) in the south parking lot of the church from 8am - 7pm. Convoy of Hope is a faith based organization with a driving passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing.
27. Happy Clothes- can be found on Facebook under “Happy Clothes Community Pages” Donating 100% of sales to the Tuscaloosa Tornado Relief effort. Donating to Project Blessing! View available clothes to pick out one for your child. FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the USA.
28. Humane Society Flea Market-3201 Main Ave, Northport, AL. Drop off these essential items for animal rescue efforts: crates, carriers, pet food, pet beds, blankets, dog collars and leashes, pet bowls, etc. for rescue and relief. Saturday: 10am-5pm. Sunday: 5/1: noon-5pm. Monday: 5/2: 10am-5pm. Check back for drop-off times all next week.
29. West Alabama Food Bank- P.O. Box 805, 3160 McFarland Blvd., Northport, AL 35476.http://www.westalabamafoodbank.org/. 205-333-5353. Donate money online. Or text the word FOOD to 27722 to give $10. All funds stay in West Alabama.
30. Northridge Baptist Church- 205-758-5599, 4115 Watermelon Road, Northport, AL. Suggested items to donate: Bottled water, juice, non-perishable individually wrapped food that does not need to be cooked such as peanut butter crackers, protein bars, chips, cookies, pop top canned vegetables and meats, toiletries such as toothbrush, deodorant, soap, washcloths, brushes, gently used or new toys, gently used or new clothes, household items, diapers/wipes.
31. Project Blessings- www.projectblessings.org. Contact: Ashlin Sprayberry Bennett (205) 454-7516. Accepting monetary donations through the website. Click donate. Call to donate these needed supplies: clothes- especially boys clothes, prepackaged underwear and socks- shoes, toys, water, hot dogs, Hamburgers, sandwich meat, peanut butter and jelly, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, diapers, wipes, toilet paper, Ziplock baggies, antibacterial wipes, plastic grocery bags you’ve been saving, and boxes!
32. Standa*wear- http://standawear.storenvy.com/
. Purchase novelty Tuscaloosa Tornado T-shirts. The proceeds will be split among United Way, West Alabama Food Bank & the Red Cross.
33. Tuscaloosa Flower Shoppe- 205-758-3065. 2208 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa. Collecting water, canned goods, diapers, children’s clothes, or anything you can give. No donation too small.
34. Graceway Baptist Church- 708 Bridge Ave, Northport, AL 35476. (205) 339-3790. Accepting all donations of supplies and money.
35. Northridge Fitness- 205-752-1201. 1825 Mcfarland Blvd North, Suite A, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406-2197. Call to donate blood.
36. Forest Lake United Methodist Church- http://forestlakeumc.org/. 205-758-6667. 1711 4th Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. Having a toy drive this Sunday, May 1, from 2pm to 5pm.
37. Northport Church of Christ- http://www.northportcoc.org/. (205) 339-6211. 2700 44th Avenue, Northport, AL. Building is behind the Co-Op in Norhport. Asking for donations of any kind whether it be supplies, money, or time. On site from 7AM to 8 PM Saturday. Diapers and baby products are the lowest, but canned goods, anything non perishable. Plates and forks, etc. too.
38. First Wesleyan Church- http://www.firstwesleyan.com/#/tuscaloosa-relief. Check out this comprehensive website for a complete list of how to donate financially or supplies. They list everything out in detail. Their phone is: 205-752-4251. 1501 McFarland Blvd. North. Tuscaloosa, AL 35406.
39. Five Points Baptist- www.fivepointsbaptist.com. 3718 36th Street,
Northport, AL 35473-2908. (205) 339-3220. Contact: email@example.com. Intersection of Hwy 82 & 43. Donate bags, lots of them, not necessarily the disposable kind, to carry things in. Also, hot dogs, water or chips.
40. First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa- http://www.firsttuscaloosa.org/. 721 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 205-345-7554. Donation needs: Prepared hygiene kits and the supplies to make them. Contents of one kit: shampoo, washcloth, comb, bar of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush. Items should be trial or sample size and placed in a quart or gallon sized Ziploc bag. Items can be brought to the church (Fellowship Hall, 8th street welcome center side) Saturday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. or bring them Sunday morning.
41. ABC 33/40’s Alabama Tornado Relief Telethon- To give, call 855-444-0414.
42. Tuscaloosa Parks and Recreation (PARA)- Bring ready to serve food to Snow Hinton Park, 1000 Hargrove Road East, Tuscaloosa.
43. Mellow Mushroom- 2230 University Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. 205-758-0112. Donate non-perishable food items, bottled water and hygiene products for tornado victims.
44. DKE Fraternity House- Contact: Patrick Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Located on University Blvd across the street from the Walk of Champions at BDS. Donate food and supplies at the house beginning at 9:30 AM Saturday. Supplies include: Dry erase markers, paper, pencils, pens, binders, etc., diapers, wipe-ups, canned foods, frozen foods, sandwich meat, casual clothes, over the counter medicine,toothpaste, deodorant, blankets, towels, rain gear and anything else that may benefit the relief effort. Also, houses where we can cook food, grills for the backyard, to-go boxes for packaging food, and trash bags.
45. Nashville Donations- Contact: Allison Wilkerson. (205)-454-9853 FB page for donation details: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=206366052729146. Anything you can give would be great!!!