Tornadoes, storms, and flooding have been hitting the South and Midwest throughout the second half of this week. Storms and a tornado turned deadly in north Texas the day after Christmas, killing at least 11 people in the Dallas area and destroying homes, churches, and businesses. A tornado was reported in Birmingham, Alabama, on Christmas Day, and several communities in Mississippi were hit just before the holiday. The tumultuous flooding plaguing the Southeast has also resulted in 10 deaths in Mississippi, six in Tennessee, one in Arkansas, and one in Alabama. There are many ways you can help tornado and storm victims as states of emergency and flood watches are instituted across the region.
Many organizations, including the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, have launched widespread efforts to provide disaster relief at this time. Local organizations in some of the hardest hit communities — Garland, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Holly Springs, Mississippi; and Clarksdale, Mississippi — have also started gathering supplies and volunteers to recover after the tornadoes and storms that have struck the region. Take a look below at the various ways in which you can help victims of the storms, either by donating money and supplies or by volunteering your time.
The Red Cross of North Texas has launched a region-wide response and has opened several shelters for storm victims. North Texans who are looking for their loved ones can use the Red Cross' Safe and Well service to locate them. There are a couple of quick ways to help provide disaster relief in the area:
- Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
- Text STORM to 51555 to pledge to give any donation amount for Texas relief through the Salvation Army.
Garland — one of the hardest hit cities — has created a clearing house for volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering can register at GarlandTX.Recovers.org. Meanwhile, in Rowlett, Mayor Todd Gottel has said that donations to the Red Cross and Salvation Army are the best ways to help at this time.
Many of you have asked to volunteer and donate. I would suggest donations at this point to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. If and when we need volunteers, I will let you know. Thank you for all of the offers and prayers. Please continue to pray for all of those impacted and emergency volunteers and emergency services personnel.
The Salvation Army of North Texas has installed mobile kitchens and other forms of assistance in these hard-hit communities. If you want to volunteer with the Salvation Army, you can visit their website for more information.
The governor of Mississippi has declared a state of emergency. Many families have been left homeless as their communities experienced heavy damage. The Mississippi Emergency Management is offering opportunities for people to donate or volunteer on its website. As in Texas, the Mississippi Region Red Cross is attempting to provide shelter, food, and supplies to those who need it, and you can make a donation on their website. Meanwhile, Direct Relief is one of many organizations working to send necessary medical supplies to the region.
If you are in Holly Springs and want to donate supplies, you can drop off aid at the Eddie Smith Multipurpose Center, 285 North Memphis Street. If you are in Clarksdale, you can do this at the Civic Auditorium at 506 East 2nd Street. You can also send contributions to the American Red Cross at 9 River Bend Pl. in Flowood.
Across The Region
At this time, the best ways to help are to either donate money or supplies to regional Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, or get in touch with them to find out how you can volunteer. The National Weather Service has reported that a cold front is now moving into north Texas, and a "crippling" blizzard is expected to follow the deadly tornadoes the region has already experienced, so keep paying attention to what is happening in order to figure out how you can best help provide disaster relief.