Here’s how to help Tennessee tornado victims

How to help Tennessee tornado victims

As residents pick up the pieces after devastating tornadoes ripped through middle Tennessee early Tuesday, people across the country are gearing up to provide help and support.

The two tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service in Nashville, were believed to be at least EF-3 storms, packing winds up to 160 mph. The tornadoes destroyed homes and businesses, leaving people homeless and in need.

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So, how can you help?

Nashville Mayor John Cooper provided a list of resources, but here are some other options available:

Donations: According to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund has been activated. According to its website, grants from the fund will be made to nonprofits providing vital services to the affected areas. People have the option on the website to donate $25, $50, $100 or other amounts. Items such as gloves, trash bags, personal hygiene items and bleach can be dropped off or mailed to the Community Resource Center at 218 Omohundro Place, Nashville, TN 37120.

GoFundMe: Former Olympic gymnast and Nashville resident Shawn Johnson launched a GoFundMe page to support tornado victims and their families, AL.com reported. More than 2,100 people have already donated more than $66,000. You can donate here.

United Way: The United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties is offering people several ways to donate, in person, online or via phone. WKRN reported. People can text RELIEF2020 to 41444, or online at https://app.mobilecause.com/f/2oz0/n?vid=5fyqc. People can also donate by check to P.O. Box 330056, Murfreesboro, TN 37133 (United Way officials ask donors to write RELIEF2020 on the check’s memo line).

Relief fund: The Donelson Fellowship set up a disaster relief fund, and its pastor has encouraged people personally affected by the storm to contact office@donelson.org

Donating food: The Salvation Army has a feeding unit and two support units working in the area, offering coffee and snacks to displaced residents. You can donate online here. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is part of a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks and food rescue programs, WKRN reported. To donate food, go to the organization’s website.

Volunteers: Hands On Nashville said it is collecting information for those who want to help in recovery and cleanup efforts. Samaritan’s Purse, located in Boone, North Carolina, is traveling to Nashville. The volunteer teams will assist homeowners with clearing trees and debris from yards and homes and placing tarps on damaged roofs. You can sign up at the organization’s website.

Donating blood: There is a shortage of blood in the area, Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton told WBIR-TV. Regional Blood Center in Knoxville has sent a supply of blood to Putnam County and will continue to help as they request it. You can find a place to donate here. Medic Regional Blood Center in Knoxville has sent blood to Putnam County. Tennessee residents can find a place to donate here. For outside Tennessee, check with your local blood bank.

The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., which donated $10,000 to the relief effort, thanked people for reaching out to help the area.

“Thank you to everyone who has reached out following the devastating tornadoes that hit our city and state. Our hearts go out to all who have been affected,” Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., said in a statement. “We are staying in close touch with the Mayor’s Office, our partners in the hospitality industry and other city and community leaders."