The January 2012 tornadoes remind us of the importance of the Emergency Response Fund, established by the community Foundation back in 1998 to respond after an F5 tornado destroyed homes, schools and churches in western Jefferson County. Part of that same community, plus Clay, Chalkville and other areas, now face the challenge of recovery.
It’s always hard to see the shattered buildings, the blue tarps, even the first-responders in action. That’s especially true when we know that recovery is far from complete from 2011 tornadoes.
Maybe this is the reminder we all need that disasters continue to bring sorrow and challenges in our lives. That’s why Salvation Army, Red Cross and other first-responders are so important, why the 2-1-1 operated by United Way of Central Alabama is essential to help people find what they need and why Hands On Birmingham and other organizations are vital to funnel volunteer support to places where people can help.
The Community Foundation will be there too, using the Emergency Response Fund to support long-term needs through the Central Alabama Long-Term Recovery Committee. Representatives from communities hit by the January storms are already attending the on-going CALTRC meetings, making sure they are plugged in to a variety of resources.
We are all in this for the long term, knowing that this latest line of tornadoes won’t be the last one and looking for ways to build communities that will be better able to protect their residents the next time.
Thank you for your gifts to the Community Foundation and all other organizations supporting these immediate and long-term needs. Whatever we do, we need each other to make it through.