Community Foundation staff joined representatives of the Red Cross, United Way of Central Alabama and other local nonprofits on a conference call this afternoon, learning first-hand about how these important first responders are coping in their work to provide much-needed food and shelter in the wake of April 27 tornadoes.
It’s too soon to know the extent of the disaster, which has destroyed hundreds of homes across our state. According to Billy Baxter of the Red Cross, damage is both widespread and deep, affecting many people in each area. Over the next few weeks, we will be part of an Unmet Needs Committee with these same agencies and others, working to make sure help is available for the expected long-term needs of survivors.
We also have been in touch with leaders of the community foundations serving the affected areas, especially community foundations in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Walker County. As we did in the aftermath of the 1998 F5 tornado in western Jefferson County and again in 2005 with survivors from Hurricane Katrina who evacuated to our area, we will use donations to our Emergency Relief Fund to support those needs. Or give directly to Tuscaloosa through the Community Foundation of West Alabama or in Walker County through the community foundation that serves that county exclusively.
In the meantime, Red Cross can take immediate donations for local needs via 1-800-REDCROSS and on their website (as soon as service is restored) take calls for assistance at 1-800-HELPNOW. Hands On Birmingham is coordinating volunteers with Red Cross, so you can sign up to provide a variety of assistance.