I think this graphic explains a lot. 😦 Each tornado icon represents 100 to 200 mile an hour winds. Tin Foil, Jim, Ric, Nonnie, John, Jean-Philippe, Frank, Al, Tim, and Don et al., thank you. Your sites and comments were my peace-of-mind places while I fretted over my son who was 4 blocks away from the tornado’s debris field in downtown Birmingham. You gave me non-weather related items to escape to as the local weather teams delivered the storm’s terrifying play-by-play.
Let me tell you all about my friend Ernie who was killed. He was the sweetest man. I loved teasing him about being a big flirt. Nearly every time I saw him he had a beautiful woman on either side of him. He’d be mortified when I’d tease because he was a very modest man. He owned the realty franchise next to the grocery store where I shop. I saw his business Thursday morning and wondered how he was. Hours later I learned that he died in the tornado that hit Pleasant Grove. My first thoughts after finding out included the immediate deficit of kindness in the world because he was no longer in it. I feel lucky though that I had the chance to know him.
Thank you to everyone who reached out to me and my family to make sure we were okay. We are. Your caring helps un-numb. We’re finding everyone in these parts knows someone affected by the devastation.
One more thing before I list ways to help out. I was disheartened by comments around the web that amounted to–Alabama doesn’t deserve help because many of our politicians and voters are of the government-shrinking nut variety. So. We’re no less American, and believe it or not, no less human.
Here are ways to help:
- The American Red Cross has opened dozens of emergency shelters for families affected by the severe storms. You can donate online or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. To quickly contribute10, you can text “REDCROSS” to 90999.
- Feeding America recommends that people make financial contributions to local food banks, which will use the money to hand out food supplies to survivors. You can use the locator on the organization’s website to find food banks in disaster-affected communities.
- Samaritan’s Purse is sending teams of volunteers to hard-hit areas in Alabama to offer assistance. Supporters can donate online to help the organization provide aid.
- The Salvation Army has deployed mobile feeding units to tornado-affected communities to provide meals to people in need. You can designate your online donation go to “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak” relief. Funds can also be given over the phone by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or texting “GIVE” to 80888 (for a10 donation).
- Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley’s office is accepting donations for church and community relief efforts in the wake of the massive storms. Supporters can contribute by credit card or check.
Anyone who wants to help victims in Alabama has these options:
- Salvation Army, 1601 Huntsville Road, Florence, drop-off location for water, non-perishable foods, monetary donations, baby supplies, including diapers, wipes, baby food, blankets, hand sanitizer.
- Salvation Army thrift stores are collecting clothing. Donors should designate items for storm victims.
- Franklin Pharmacy, 361 Mustang Drive, Russellville. People are asked to bring whatever they can but immediate needs are bottled water, canned food, sunscreen, basic toiletries, baby supplies.
- Monetary donations may be mailed to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 728, Florence, AL 35630.
- Shoals Outdoor Sports, 1605 U.S. 72, Tuscumbia. Everything including diapers and toiletries, power tools such as chain saws and other emergency-related equipment.
- Fleet Force, Russellville, accepting non-perishable food items and water.
- Tharptown Dixie Youth League, collecting money, clothing, non-perishable foods. Donations will be taken at the Tharptown High School ball fields during baseball games Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Collection boxes will be on site.
Additional sites for donations, food and water include:
- Highland Park Church of Christ Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals
- BestWay Rent To Own 2204 Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals or 384 Cox Creek Shopping Center in Florence
- McDaniel Window & Door 300 E. Tennessee St. in Florence
- Free Will Baptist Church 1303 Alabama 24 E in Red Bay
- TVA Credit Union 303 E Dr. Hicks in Florence, 406 N Mall Ct. in Florence, 425 Cox Blvd. in Sheffield
- All Regions bank locations
- First Baptist Church in Russellville