Local organizations are gathering donations and rallying volunteers to help Tennessee communities devastated by the recent tornadoes.
At least 24 people were killed in the tornadoes early Tuesday in middle Tennessee.
Many of the local and Tennessee-based organizations encouraged cash donations for several reasons, including that it lets the aid workers to purchase what they can on the ground, which also helps with recovery efforts by helping the economy of where they are aiding.
It also means the dollars can be used more quickly and without the expense of shipping costs, because money can be easily transferred to the disaster area while donated goods need to be shipped.
Some of the local groups helping out include:
• Matthew 25: Ministries: The Blue Ash humanitarian group’s Disaster Response Team was deployed Wednesday to provide relief services throughout the affected areas.
Donors who would like to designate their financial gifts for Tornado Relief may do so by writing “Tennessee Tornadoes” in the memo line of their check or by typing it in the “in honor of” field of their online giving form at m25m.org. Checks can be sent to Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242 and 100% of donated funds designated for Tennessee Tornadoes will be used for the purpose intended.
P&G and Matthew 25: Ministries have a customized panel truck loaded with P&G personal care product kits, household cleaning supplies and additional items such as Pampers diapers, Charmin toilet paper and Tide Pods. The team will also deploy an additional panel truck loaded with supplies including tarps, shovels, garbage bags and Cintas First Aid and Safety Kits. The Duracell PowerForward truck loaded with batteries and charging stations is also accompanying the team.
• Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team: The group based out of Tipp City will work in the Lebanon, Cookeville and Donelson areas of Tennessee and has a volunteer sign up form on churchesofchristdrt.org.
Operations Manager Jeff Jeff Felzien said some of the needed items include gift cards to Lowe’s or Home Depot for rebuilding supplies and for stores like Walmart where people can buy food or clothing. They welcome donations of cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent, multipurpose cleaner, scrub brushes and bath towels or wash clothes.
One thing the organization does not need donations of is water, which is already being handled by other organizations and the logistics of getting loads of cases to Tennessee is challenging.
Felzien said one of the biggest things the organization offers is help with clean up and they make a supply of tools available to volunteers, such as chainsaws, rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows. The Disaster Response Team has coordinators in the area and they work through the local churches.
“Because we’re working with the local people, they can help guide our decisions,” he said.
He said they will be updating online and on their Facebook page as they learn more. He said they also asks everyone to keep everyone those in their prayers.
Donations can be made online at churchesofchristdrt.org or mailed to Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team, at 9285 S. State Route 202, Tipp City, OH 45371. Donations can also be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
• American Red Cross: The organization is on the ground in Tennessee. Red Cross disaster volunteers opened six shelters where more than 100 people spent Tuesday night. The organization stated it is working with local and state officials to determine what help is needed and is also distributing food and relief supplies and helping with damage assessment.
To donate call, visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
• Montgomery County Clerk of Courts: Clerk Mike Foley’s office is collecting supplies members of the community can bring items to the Clerk of Courts office downtown or any of the Auto Title locations until Friday at 5 p.m. Needed items include cleaning supplies like all-purpose cleaner, paper towels, anti-bacterial wipes, towels, rags, tarps and toilet paper.
A member of the Clerk of Courts staff will travel to Nashville this weekend to deliver any items collected.
• Bill’s Donut Shop: The Centerville shop is collecting monetary donations and gift cards for victims, and will coordinate with Centerville police, Cookeville, Tennessee police and other agencies in the Tennessee area to get those donations to the people who need it most.
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