Although Near Birmingham is a Birmingham Metro Area focused entity, it would feel wrong to brush off the happenings of Sunday, March 3, 2019. We here in Alabama have had our share of run-ins with Tornadoes. However, that doesn’t lessen the heartbreak they cause in our communities. We at Near Birmingham want to provide you with information and ways to help.
Reports acknowledge that hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Unfortunately, the tornadoes have led to a death toll of 23 people. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says all individuals have been accounted for. As a result, the communities are turning toward recovery.
The communities have started taking steps to help victims hurt by these storms. President Trump approved Gov. Kay Ivey's request for an expedited major disaster declaration for Lee County, Alabama. Corporations have even started volunteering to pay for funeral expenses, including a $50,000 commitment from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. T
First Baptist Church at Avenue B and 10th Street in Opelika has been providing ice for free. Many of the local churches are also providing shelter for those who have lost their homes as a result of the storms. Kathryn Cason of the Lee County Emergency Management Agency says to move the debris to the roadside for pickup, but separate vegetation from building wreckage. Visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov for more information.
Volunteers can call 211 to register your services. If volunteers affiliated with an agency, contact your local emergency management agency to volunteer. Any volunteer not affiliated with an agency, contact Samaritan’s Purse online at www.samaritanspurse.org.
You can give monetary donations to a fund set up for tornado victims by the Community Foundation of East Alabama by clicking here. There has also been a GoFundMe campaign set up here. United Way of Central Alabama also has an option to give here. If you have already given and have suggestions on ways to do so, contact Near Birmingham.
It's important to remember that people are hurting more from fear and loss than from materials that were damaged by this storm. Because of this pain, one of the best things you can do is to reach out to someone that has been affected by these storms. Whether that be by a text, social media message, or phone call reach out to a friend that maybe you haven't talked to in a while. You can always call a local church or non-profit to see what you can do to help people emotionally as much as physically.