The massive devastation left behind by the April 27,2011 tornadoes in Alabama and other southern states will take weeks, if not months, to clean. Rebuilding will take years and millions of dollars, and that’s just to replace material things like businesses and homes.
Here are several ways you can help meet immediate and long-term needs for tornado victims:
The American Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for the thousands of people who lost their homes in the tornadoes. They’re also providing food, blood, emergency-response vehicles and other relief supplies. You can make a cash gift online or by visiting your local Red Cross office, and you can text message REDCROSS to 90999 to give a $10 donation via your mobile phone.
The Salvation Army is setting up mobile stations to feed thousands of people in storm-affected areas. You can give online at your local Salvation Army store. You can text message GIVE to 80888 to donate money via your mobile phone.
Alabama’s governor Robert Bentley has set up a website that lets you buy necessary relief items directly. The site also lists 2 volunteer-reception centers where people can go to volunteer their services, skills and talents. One of the centers is in Tuscaloosa; the other is in Eclectic, closer to Montgomery.
The one thing NOT to do
Do not travel to a storm-ravaged community unless you have the means to provide entirely for yourself (food and shelter), and even then realize that local authorities may not be able to accommodate you. It’s best to travel with an organization that’s made arrangements with local authorities to participate in relief operations.
As mentioned above, the Governor of Alabama has posted information for people wanting to volunteer. Call one of the phone numbers here to begin your journey.