We're home for a little while, so I thought I'd give everyone an update...
-We've been out of town since Friday afternoon. Noah's brother graduated from Mississippi State yesterday, and we just couldn't miss it. I felt incredibly guilty leaving. But, I was thankful for the mental rest...we both needed it after some of the things we've seen in the last few days (which is nowhere CLOSE to what others have been through). But we're back now, and about to help!
-I have had 10 (TEN!) people email me and ask to send me some things to donate. THAT IS INCREDIBLE! If you have anything you can spare, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you'd like to donate financially, I would suggest the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund....you can find more information here.
-If you're local, as of right now the biggest things that are needed are any baby products, bottled water, toiletries, and canned goods. This changes pretty frequently, so check back...I'll update it as it changes.
-Up until now, I've kept my twitter account private for security reasons. However, at least for the next few days, I'm making it public, so as many people as possible can find out about volunteer and donation updates. I am retweeting anything I think many might not have seen, and updating pretty regularly to keep everybody in the loop. You can find that here.
-I cannot stress enough how ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMING the support we have seen is right now. Just some of the amazing donations I've heard of...
- Outback Steakhouse donated 5,000 sandwiches yesterday
- The New York Yankees have donation half a million dollars
- Tide Loads of Hope will be at Bruno's on McFarland on Tuesday
- Toomers for TTown has been BEYOND incredible. They are using their facebook and twitter pages to dispatch people when a need comes up...and are usually filling that need WITHIN MINUTES. It is amazing. This is a group of Auburn fans that is helping us right now, and I could not be more thankful. You can see their facebook here and their twitter here...they would be a good group to follow for frequent updates.
These are just a FEW of the many, many donations that have come pouring in from all around the world. It's amazing...I just can't wrap my mind around all of this.
-Social media has made all of this possible. I'm talking, somebody puts up a need and it is filled within MINUTES. There is so, so much good in people.
-If you have emailed me about donating and I haven't responded, please try again. I don't have a lot of time at the computer right now, and it's pretty likely I'm missing emails. If I don't get back to you within 24 hours, please try again!
-I have a benefit auction in the works for Sweetie Baby's Blog Design right now. If you have a business and would like to donate anything for the auction, PLEASE let me know! I'm probably going to start it sometime early next week. Spread the word...all proceeds will go to the Chamber's Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief Fund!!
-If you need somewhere to volunteer locally this afternoon, there are a couple of places:
- The DKE Fraternity house on campus (across from the stadium on University) needs volunteers to prepare food...this would also be a good place to drop any food supplies you have. Side story on this - all of the fraternity/sorority houses on campus were fully stocked, because they were supposed to have to feed college kids next week. Since the University cancelled everything, they had all of this food, and somebody had the BRILLIANT idea of consolidating it, cooking it, and giving out hot meals. GENIUS. But obviously, they're starting to run low, so any food donations would be good here.
- My school (Tuscaloosa Magnet School, next to Baumhower's off of McFarland) is helping Alberta Elementary move in. We're also receiving a good bit of donations, and need people to organize and deliver. I'll be there this afternoon!
- My church (First Methodist Tuscaloosa) needs volunteers with chainsaws to clear trees. Just show up at the church with your equipment!
- I've heard that Five Points Baptist in Northport needs volunteers to organize donations.
I'll wrap up with this - I've watched all of the support for Japan, Haiti, the Tsunami, and it never really clicked what it's like to be on the other side. I never thought I would find out. It's overwhelming, and I can't thank the WORLD enough for coming together for my beautiful, wonderful city!
THANK YOU ALL!!!!!