The very serious and grim reality of the devastation felt from deadly tornadoes by the citizens of my home state of Alabama over the past week or so has prompted my last few posts to have a much more serious tone than the usual fluffy discussions on decorating, family, dogs, crafting, etc. Over the past several days, Judd and I have been reminded time after time of how fortunate we were to have escaped the wrath of the storm and how in need so many in our state truly are at this time. Please bare with us as we discuss topics that really matter and that may offer ways to help during this difficult time for so many.
This morning I received an email from a friend I’ve had since middle school. She is one of the FAB. This friend, Susan, is a law student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (a city that suffered widespread damage from a tornado with at least an EF4 rating on April 27, 2011). Her email noted a relief fund set up by the students in the Law School at UA. If you have been looking for a way to help, this is an option for you.
I cannot even attempt to articulate to you the situation in Tuscaloosa. I have not seen it with my own eyes. Susan, however, was there when it hit and has remained there to help with the clean up efforts. Her boyfriend’s apartment was destroyed. Thankfully neither Susan or her boyfriend, Charles, were harmed.
Since I cannot relay the message from my own account I will share Susan’s words with you instead. See the message from her email below.
“My dearest girlfriends,
First of all, please know that I'm not asking any of you to donate to the following relief fund, as I know you have many other expenses to worry about. I thought, however, that you might be able to forward to employers or others that have the means to contribute. I realize that disaster relief might not be getting much publicity, given the recent capture and killing of Bin Laden, but what you have heard and what I've told you is absolutely true--the devastation is widespread and total in many areas. We helped an old couple the other day who had been in their home for 58 years--and now its gone. Yet, our residents' spirits are high and almost everyone has a good attitude about rebuilding. The faith of these people is amazing and awesome. But the fact is that these people need help.
This fund we've set up at the law school has three purposes. First, the funds will be used to help our students and staff who have lost their homes, property, etc. And it will go only to those in true need. As I told some of you, Charles's apartment was destroyed, but he's just fine, and won't need assistance. Rather, it's for those who have literally lost everything, and those who cannot access insurance payments either because they don't have it (lots of us students don't have renters insurance) or it will just take forever to come through. Second, the funds will be used to support the law school's general volunteer efforts. We have been out everyday since the tornado hit helping each other and the community. The poorer areas of Tuscaloosa were not as fortunate as many of us were to have so much help and financial support. We have been buying garbage bags, boxes, tools, etc. to help people salvage their belongings, and food and water to sustain the volunteers and to pass out to victims, and even gift cards to give to people to buy the necessities. Finally, the residual cash will be donated to the Red Cross who will probably be here for the long-term recovery.
My friend, Will Booher, is Student Bar Association Treasurer, and he is in control of the money. I vouch for his integrity, as I know misuse of funds is often a concern of donors. Again, please don't feel like I'm asking you to give. I'm just trying to spread the word. I attached a picture, too, just to give you an idea as to what happened. That used to be homes, and that picture is what it's like in a lot of different places. Remember in Twister when Helen Hunt says "You've never seen it skip that house and skip that house, and then come right after yours"? That's what happened. Some places just have a few branches in the yard, and other entire little communities have been literally wiped out. And this is not to evoke sympathy or make you think that everyone is dead...most people are alive by the grace of God, and now they need our help to rebuild.
The link below is to a Paypal Account (UA Law SBA) where anyone can pay via credit card. Having a Paypal account is not necessary to use this method of donation. Here is the link:
Thank y'all, in advance, for passing this link on! And thank y'all for checking on me after the tornado hit. I am so glad that all of y'all that were in the tornado's path are safe as well!
I hope that by posting this I am helping to aid in the relief effort by spreading the word about this organization. Please continue to pray for the victims of this storm.