i've had so many people out of town ask "but what can we DO?"
i hope you don't mind that today's 10 is ways to help out nashville. it's honestly written because people have asked for it to be. there are tons of blogs and sites out there with similar lists, but i want to specifically focus on what out-of-towners can do.
this is in no way a comprehensive list, and if you live close to our area other blogs (such as nashvillest) will be good resources for you if you don't know anyone specifically who was affected. chances are you DO know someone though and are already helping in whatever capacity you're able to.
for those of you with a bit of distance between your place and ours, here's a short list of concrete, simple things you can do to help those who are hurting.
1. we need donations of gift cards--home depot, wal-mart, target, lowe's, kroger, etc--for people who are rebuilding/replacing ruined items. gift cards instead of items simply because we NEED people to be able to spend money in our city right now.
i've also seen a few people mention gift cards to local restaurants for people who have a kitchen that is inoperable.
here is one place that i know is taking donations of gift cards:
Otter Creek Church
2. are you affiliated with a church in your city? if so, contact a "sister church" in nashville. ask if they have specific needs in their congregation, or if they have specific ministries that are in need of extra donations/supplies for flood relief. most churches down here are taking care of everyone they can.
if you aren't affiliated with a church try one of these:
http://www.graceworksministries.net/ (independent ministry)
www.disasterreliefeffort.org (churches of Christ)
3. text for good! the american red cross will receive a $10 donation to disaster relief if you text "REDCROSS" to 90999
4. bottled water is needed right now. no, it's not the environmentally conscious thing to do, and it hurts my eco mind to use bottled water, paper plates and cups, and other disposable items. but the fact is, one of our water reservoirs was flooded and is currently inoperable. nashville residents have been told to cut water usage by at least half. this means most of us, if we're listening to the pleas, are pretty stinky right now since no one is taking good showers. but you know what? i'm happy to take baby wipe baths and rinse out my hair every other day--or two--if it helps my nashville. we're being asked to limit water usage to cooking, drinking, and hand washing and VERY limited other usage. if bottled water is donated, it'll cut down that much more on city water usage.
5. buy a t-shirt. right now all i have is the facebook fan page, but there should be an online store up soon.
6. for those of you concerned about the fate of animals, the nashville humane society and metro animal services are accepting donations that are more pet-friendly. :) there are also several area vets and kennels that are boarding animals for displaced families.
7. one of the coolest things i saw on facebook earlier this week was that students at my alma mater (Trevecca) were given an opportunity to receive credit by volunteering in the flood relief in lieu of their exams in some classes. how amazing is that? trevecca has always been a school of service, and i'm proud to be an alum when i hear things like that.
by the way, trevecca sustained some damage in the electrical/maintenance facilities, print shop, gym, student activity center, and a couple of athletic fields. yet i didn't find out about that until i read a press release on a nazarene church's website informing the greater nazarene community of this. clearly, student efforts are focusing on what they can do off campus...did i mention i love my university?
trevecca's flood relief efforts: http://www.trevecca.edu/info/newsandevents?id=3955
lipscomb's (i should also note that lipscomb is one of four main shelters housing families who were displaced. the others are the gordon jewish community center, al menah shrine center, and people's church in franklin)
i couldn't find any other local universities with flood relief efforts, but i'll keep my eyes open in the next few days.
8. donate monies online
community foundation (in conjunction with the mayor's office)
american red cross
second harvest food bank
nashville rescue mission (ok, so this isn't a flood relief specific page, but they serve nashville's homeless population and they were definitely hit hard...so a donation would not be out of place for them. another worthy homeless ministry is room in the inn which several area churches participate in. another homeless project which is absolutely amazing and wonderful is the newspaper, the nashville contributor)
9, visit us. we depend heavily on tourism dollars. yes, opryland hotel and downtown are currently under water. yes, some tourist attractions will be closed for a few months. but let us show you the other sides of nashville, the sides tourists typically miss. we'll be glad to have you, and grateful that you remember us.
10. or come down for a weekend and help families clean out their flood-soaked basements or houses. hands on nashville is coordinating all the FEMA volunteers, so that's a great place to look.
and pray. please. i've stopped watching the news--it's so horrible to see places that i love literally in ruins...and then there are the more personal aspects as i help people i dearly love try to sort out what is salvageable and what must be thrown away. we WILL rebuild, and we will be stronger for it...but right now it's just overwhelming and hard. pray that help will be swift and effective, that clean up will be as smooth as possible, that the city and her people will be resilient.
side note: if any of you are from indiana (southern) or the part of kentucky i'll be driving through to get there and want to send anything down with me, i'll be up thursday-saturday for a wedding. i'll have limited times that i can pick stuff up but please email me or call if you have my number and i'll DEFINITELY meet you and get anything you want to the appropriate place.
i'll also be going to the gatlinburg area later in the month, so if any of you are on the way from nashville to there (or close) i can do the same then :)