Additional ways to help Tornado Relief

Clean up is going to take years. And the cost will run in the billions. So if you are looking to make a difference, here are some more places to help out.

The Alabama Food Bank Association is helping with efforts to feed those who have lost and those who are helping out. You can go to the web site to set up a donation to help in any region.

A local web site for my neighborhood, the 35212, is helping to coordinate volunteer efforts in Birmingham. They are updating regularly with specific needs for items and volunteers.

From Twitter, the Alabama State Bar has a disaster assistance hotline at 1-800-354-6154 to assist folks in storm-affected communities with legal needs.

The Christian Service Mission has a wish list on Amazon of relief supplies that are needed.

One of the local weathermen is continuing to help with storm recovery. James Spann is using his popularity and reach to help spread the word about needs and services available. He is using his facebook page as a clearinghouse for relief information.

Every little bit makes a difference. Thanks for helping out!

April 27th Tornados

Those of you who follow me on twitter know that things have been crazy here in Alabama since last Wednesday. We had horrible tornados and destruction that have touched almost everyone here.

Given the expected severe weather, both DH and I were sent home from work before the weather line came through Birmingham. We prepared the basement for a long evening. We made sure that the weather radio was accessible, that we had working flashlights, that there were oil lamps and matches available, and that we had cat treats to keep the kitties downstairs with us.

DH was monitoring the tv, and I had gotten online and was keeping up with twitter. When the tornado in Tuscaloosa started and was caught on the live tower cams, all we could do was watch in horror. Then a bit later as we watched the projected storm track, we made plans for a possible hit to our house by a major tornado. Fortunately for us, the storm cell turned, but that means there are other neighborhoods that have been destroyed.

I tried to be helpful on twitter, passing along information about the weather. I was told that one of my followers was glad to have the information that I helped to share.

The current death toll is 250 for just the state of Alabama. With the efforts of all the meteorologists, it would have been so much worse. Two thirds of the state of Alabama had damage from storms on April 27th. The same system did damage across the entire southeast. Its going to take years to recover from these tornados. Now I can be helpful here.

First, if you have the where with all, please make a donation of some kind to one of the reputable relief agencies. The Red Cross is helping out. You can text “RED CROSS” to 90999 to make a donation of $10.00. Obviously money is the most flexible donation, and can be directed to the most urgent need. Hands on Birmingham is coordinating volunteer efforts in the Birmingham area. In addition to people’s needs, there are a very large number of pets that have been displaced. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is helping to organize that effort.

There are lots of ways to help out. Keep an eye on my tweet stream. As I get word of them, I pass opportunities along. And please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. Its incredible what has happened and what the various people have endured.

helping others out

DH and I got back in a little while ago. We’d been out at our church working with the committee for our angel tree. We’re gone to the local schools and the schools where our folks teach, and gotten the counselors and social workers to get us the names, needs and wishes of a family who needs some help. Its sobering to see lists of christmas wishes for folks that are for nothing but a shirt and a pair of pants, and nothing else. One family needs a washer and a dryer, as well as a a twin bed. It is a reminder that as far as things go, we are very well off. We have plenty to eat, we have nice clothes to wear, we have a nice house to live in, we have health insurance that covers us when we are sick. Yeah, there are things we want, but our needs are indeed taken care of.

As we were on our way back home, there was a motorcyclist broken down on the side of the road. DH saw him, and asked if we could see if they needed any help. So we turned around and stopped. There were 2 guys working on the bike. One had his truck pulled up behind it with the headlights on so he and bike’s owner could see what they were doing. DH got out of the car and walked over to see if they needed any help. He ended up holding lights and offering suggestions and support until they decided that they had done as much as they could on the side of the road and loaded up the motorcycle in the back of the truck. I didn’t have a problem with DH helping out. He’s received enough help when he’s been broken down on the side of the road. He was just paying that help forward.