Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You might not have much, but you can do something.

On April 27, 2011 severe weather slammed the southern United States, in particular Alabama in what is undoubtedly the most dramatic weather event in 2011. While statistics are still being collected, approximately 250 Alabamians are confirmed dead, 1700 injured and hundreds are reported missing. According to the National Weather Service, a series of 19 tornadoes slammed the state all ranging from F1 to F4 scale (F5 being the highest level) with wind gusts at times in some areas exceeding 200 mph.

I have several blog readers who live in the south, mostly in Alabama, and in their own way each have been affected by these storms. One of them asked me to do what I can to show some of you who don't know much about the storms and the devastation they are faced with. My goal is to educate you. Maybe you can't go there and help clean up or rebuild. Maybe you can't help look for injured and missing people. But you can donate $1. You can spread the word on your own blogs, your Facebook pages, your Twitter accounts, you can do something.

This is what person saw from their porch. Just think of the absolute terror a person would feel seeing this. You never know where a tornado will go and all you can do is get to a safe place and hope it misses you.
But while it might miss you, it will get your neighborhood. Your friends. Your community center. Your family. Your church.

The reader who contacted me sent me a link to a newspaper article about her cousin who is a pastor at Pine Grove Congregational Holiness Church in Pleasant Valley, AL. I think what is so powerful about this photograph is that no matter what comes at them they still come together. They don't have a building but they are at worship just as they would any other Sunday.
To me it proves the resilient nature of humans as a whole. It shows me that these people care about their communities and are willing to come together to rebuild.

But it isn't just one community affected. We are talking devastation statewide. If you go here you can see some really incredible before and after pictures. It isn't just houses that are gone, we're talking ENTIRE towns are completely destroyed. If I didn't see a before picture I wouldn't know there were ever homes and buildings there to begin with.

Over the course of two days I have immersed myself with stories of the storms and I feel overwhelmed by the enormous loss and tragedy of it all. When I read stories about families who were seen holding onto each other, or people watching their family member literally blow away- I feel so lucky to live in an area where a tornado would be pretty rare. A few miles south from me... we have them but having chilly Lake Superior practically in my backyard has some advantages.

What can you do to help?

Fortunately, there are a lot of things each of us can do that don't require us to hop on a plane. THIS website has a list of organizations who are accepting monetary and item donations for relief and repair efforts, links to get news updates, places to sign up and volunteer (if you are in the area), and other links for you to look at to organize and advocate for families in Alabama.

The really great thing about technology is you can do so much just by sitting on your computer. A few dollars may not seem like a lot to you, but to these organizations and these families it means so much. I currently have 560 followers and if you all gave $5 that would be $2800. And if you implored for your blog readers, your family, your friends to give $5, that money can do so much good for a community. Think of how many people currently living in a shelter would have dinner tonight. Think of how many people could get a clean set of clothing. Think of how many people could get basic medical treatment. It's astounding what a little bit of money can do.

And before I go for the evening, I ask that you share this with your own blog readers. Put it on your Twitter and Facebook pages. Although our Country has a lot to celebrate with the death of Osama bin Laden, it's hard to be joyful when you know so many people are homeless. You know- I think about my own kids and what I would do if I were in that situation and I don't know. But I do know the generosity of complete strangers would restore my belief in that things will get better and that there are good people out there. Because there are. Be one of them.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow... I really don't watch the news all that much, so I haven't seen much of this yet. Definitely horrible. :(

Beverly said...

I am touched. I've did pretty well keeping it together during everything but this got me. It means so much that people like you take the time to show the country what we're going through. You are such an angel.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

It seems like there is so much devastation happening around the world lately we have suffered hear in Australia. Thankfully I have not be personally effected by any of it but I feel for those who has suffered.

I think it is great you doing this post as it is another way to get people to help out that need it.

Ruth said...

I really like the coupons for a cause one. I am always getting coupons that I never use. I am sure lots of people do. And for people that don't have extra money to give, they may have coupons.

Deepika said...

this is so moving. The resilience people have is commendable.. things in India are so different.. A lot more people are homeless, but there's little someone can do.. kudos to you!! *hug*

Robin said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I live in MS but my entire extended family: parents, inlaws, brothers and sisters are all still in AL and 90% of them were effected by the storms.

My brother lives in Tuscaloosa and is working with his church to help survivors and the stories he's told would keep you up at night. I have been an emotional wreck since I watched online weather coverage of the storms moving into AL and prayed for the safety of all of my loved ones.

I've blogged about this but I wondered if people in the rest of the country even realized how bad it is.
Thank you

Robin said...

Thanks so much for this post all of my family is in AL and have been affected by the storms. It is heartbreaking.

Ang said...

I always donate money to natural disaster relief. I'm to the point where, no matter how much money I give, it never feels like enough. Going there and helping would be amazing and amazingly rewarding... but I just don't have the money to get there. Can't really plan for it either...

This is a good thing you are doing!

Barry said...

Thank you so much for posting this article on your page. It means so much to me that someone from so far away would care about us here.
I am good friends with Beverly, and we both attended and grew up in Pleasant Valley. I was fortunate, in the fact that I did not lose anyone in my immediate family or circle of friends. But I do have friends who lost loved ones, and right now they are at a loss as how to proceed with their lives.
Thank you again for posting the article and raising awareness of our situation. God bless you!

Barry Rich
Jacksonville, AL

Unknown said...

We had some insane tornadoes when I lived in Indiana. I remember watch a funnel cloud form over our school.
I'm so sorry guys. My grandfather is from Tuscaloosa, and if he hadn't been getting cancer treatment in TX, would have been there.
I hope times like these show our resilience and unity as a nation.