Friday, May 13, 2011

A Long Road

On Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, North Alabama experienced a series of tornadoes that left a heartbreaking path of destruction.

I have seen thousands of pictures, read stories that made me cry endlessly and drove through some of the hardest hit areas, where people were sifting through rubble in an attempt to pick up fragments of memories that were once their homes. It is unreal.

I know I was one of the many that bemoaned the nearly week-long lack of electricity and loss of modern conveniences. We incessantly checked our cell phones for even one hopeful little bar of signal. Hundreds of thousands of people were in that same boat. We flocked to the grocery stores in search of ice and any fresh food we could find. There was some humor in trudging through the darkened stores with the somewhat unwashed masses. Lots of ponytails and baseball caps, wrinkled clothes and strained laughter. We weren't prepared, but the spirit of generosity and simple Southern manners prevailed. And we were fortunate.

I stood in my driveway with my family (yes, after the frantic weather reporters told us to take cover) and tried to snap pictures of a tornado beginning to form, while being pelted with hail. But in the end the worst of it missed us and we still had a home, a roof over our heads and our family was safe.

Not so for others.
195 people died in Alabama alone, with a death toll of 340 people in the tornado outbreak area.

The recovery effort is massive. You can help by visiting:

The American Red Cross

The Salvation Army

Feeding America

But there are more ways to donate, other than monetary contributions. People everywhere are reaching out - contact your local churches or civic organizations for more ways to help in the recovery efforts.

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