As most of you probably already know, my home state of Alabama was pounded by tornadoes on Wednesday, April 27th. The destruction around here is unbelievable. Myself and my family were relatively untouched by the storms. My parents had a tree fall against their house and damage their roof, but there were no injuries. Thank God! But others among my community, including many of my coworkers. were not so lucky. Entire neighborhoods, even towns, were destroyed. As anyone who has watched the various photos and videos of the damage can see, we will be rebuilding for a long time around here. I imagine it will be months – even years in some cases – before lives get back to anything resembling normal in many communities.
Anyway, being one of the lucky ones, the blessed ones, and the grateful ones who survived these storms with little incident, I want to give back any way I can. Had the storms tracked just a little differently, the winds blown just a little to the south, my family could have been directly affected. Parents lost children. Children lost parents. There are so many tragic stories coming out of this developing situation. Bodies are still being found. Orphans will need new homes. Many injured remain in critical condition.
Anyway, I ask all of you who may be reading this: Give. Give money. Give your time. Give your energy. Give that unused furniture littering your attic. Give those clothes your child has grown out of. Give blood. Give food. Give band aids. Give bags of ice. Give toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap. Donate lumber. Give whatever you can. Give because you never know when it might be you in need. Give because it’s simply the right thing to do.
I remember after the Haiti earthquake, Crossed Genres magazine ran a fundraising effort encouraging authors to post free stories on their blogs and include links to donate to The Red Cross. Do something like that if nothing else. Please spread the word anyway you can. People need help!
Anyway, here’s a collection of links to various charities worth funding:
- The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund: http://www.servealabama.gov/2010/2011%20Tornadoes/Response.aspx
- American Red Cross: http://newsroom.redcross.org/category/spring-tornadoes-2011/
- The Salvation Army: https://secure20.salvationarmy.org/donation.jsp
- The UAB Benevolent Fund: https://www.uab.edu/onlinegiving/eGivingSystem.aspx?page=1&UnitID=36&FundID=803#ctl00_cphMainContent_ctl00_pnlUnitDescription
- Greater Birmingham Humane Society (Yes, pets lost owners, too): http://www.gbhs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=gbhs_home
- For those who are local to the Birmingham area and would like to volunteer, you might want to look into contacting Hands On Birmingham at (205) 251-5849. Their website seems to be down as of this posting, but I know they are extremely busy right now.
- Also for local people, UAB Hospital is hosting an emergency blood drive every day from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. in the second-floor atrium of UAB Hospital’s North Pavilion.
Please spread the word! Thank you!!!