On Wednesday night, April 27, tornadoes ripped through several states leveling entire neighborhoods, businesses and uprooting massive trees. The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army need donations to help families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia.
Photo Credit: Dusty Compton/AP
Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama said today on CNN that he has no idea what dollar figure to put on the devastation yet but that an assessment will be made. Also today President Obama surveyed the damage in Alabama, declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties, and promised federal aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has opened shelters to help survivors whose homes have been devastated by the historically rare F4 and F5 tornadoes. The storms hit on Wednesday as The American Red Cross was already helping flood victims in Missouri and victims of the wildfires in Texas.
Although storms are expected in April, the weather this spring has been especially tumultuous. According to a report on Medical News Today, “In the past two weeks, the Red Cross has opened nearly 50 shelters and provided more than 3,000 overnight stays. In addition, with community partners, the Red Cross has served more than 233,000 meals and snacks and distributed more than 20,000 items like clean-up supplies and comfort kits to people affected by the severe spring weather.”
The American Red Cross urges people in tornado stricken areas of the mid-West to stay indoors despite power outages if they have enough food, water and other supplies. If not, the non-profit organization is operating a number of shelters in the seven state area hit hardest beginning last Wednesday.
If you are in one of the states and cities affected by this week’s storms, you know how important it is to let your loved ones know you are well. The American Red Cross is facilitating this communication with a website. To let family members in other parts of the country or world know that you are safe, register at the American Red Cross Safe and Well page. If you are looking for a family member, you can search the names of people who have registered on this site.
You can donate online at the Red Cross’ website. To donate $10 to relief efforts from your mobile phone, text REDCROSS to 90999 and the money will be billed to your wireless account. You can also call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) to donate over the phone.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army’s Disaster Response Unit has sent 10 mobile feeding units in Tuscaloosa, Guntersville, and Lauderale County in Alabama. Residents of Montpelier and Oxford, Mississippi and Chattanooga, Tennessee are also receiving help. According to the Salvation Army’s website, “Another 22 mobile feeding units including catering trucks, mobile kitchens, and a 20,000 meal per day full service field kitchen have been placed on standby.”
The Salvation Army is actively accepting financial donations to allow them to continue providing services to those affected by these disasters. Visit the website or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designate April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. You can use your mobile phone to text “GIVE” to 80888, or send checks made payable to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, GA 30384-0339.
Volunteers for both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are responding from the area and around the country. It is still early in the process and the extent of the damage from these storms has yet to be assessed. In the meantime donations are needed to keep shelters open, and provide food, water and supplies to those in need.