(WHNT) - One of the best things about living in the Tennessee Valley is how people reach out to help their neighbors. Many of you are asking how you can help those affected by the April 28 tornadoes in Limestone, Lincoln and DeKalb counties.
WHNT News 19 has collected the following information for each area.
Limestone County, AL
The United Way of Athens-Limestone County is coordinating the relief effort. Executive Director Kaye McFarlen said at least 200 people lost their homes in the tornadoes of April 28. “Most of those people were renters and were living paycheck to paycheck,” McFarlen said. “They will need help with first month’s rent, utility deposits and basic living needs,” she added.
The United Way of Athens-Limestone County has set up an account to help victims of this disaster. You can make a donation online. You can also mail checks to:
419 South Marion Street
Athens, AL 35611
Volunteers are also needed to help in the clean-up and rebuilding process. This link shows various volunteer options. Or, click here to go directly to the registration form. By registering online, you can specify your skills and services. The United Way will match your skills with specific needs and contact you to coordinate your service. Or, you can go to the Volunteer Reception Center to register to volunteer - it's located at the United Way in Athens at 419 South Marion Street. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Tarps and gift cards are especially needed, and many trees are down so they will be forming chain saw teams as they did in April 2011 to assist those in need.
NEW INFORMATION: Additionally, Clements Baptist Church is asking for donations of non-perishable food items and hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and shaving cream. Volunteer organizers also tell us they have a great need for plastic bins to hold the items tornado victims salvaged from their homes and size medium Depends (absorbent, adult undergarments). They also ask for pull-ups for kids.
The church is also distributing sack lunches every day to families and volunteers. The church is located at 8690 U.S. 72, Athens, AL 35611. Click here for more information.
Groups are also serving food to families and volunteers at Blue Springs Elementary School. The school is located at 16787 Hardy Road, Athens, AL 35611.
Lincoln County, TN
If you want to volunteer in Lincoln County, you must check in at Park City Baptist Church. The church is located at 2809 Huntsville Hwy, Fayetteville, TN 37334. The phone number is (931) 433-6374.
You must bring your photo ID and sign in and get an armband in order to visit the damaged areas. There is a curfew in place, and you must be out by 6 p.m. Residents and family members must also check in at the church to get special badges/armbands to show they live in the damaged areas.
Volunteers should bring equipment they will use, such as gloves, chainsaws, rakes, etc.
You can also bring items to the church, such as clothing, non-perishable foods, diapers, hygiene items, etc.
The relief effort is being coordinated by the the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency, Park City Baptist Church and other groups.
DeKalb County, AL
About 25 homes were damaged or destroyed in Aroney. As of Thursday morning, DeKalb County EMA Director Anthony Clifton said his team is working with Belcher's Gap Church on County Road 4 to hopefully set up a volunteer center there.
Etowah County, AL
The Smith Institute community in Etowah County, just a few miles from Aroney, sustained heavy damage. About 150 houses were damaged and 25 houses possibly destroyed, according to Patrick Huselton, public information officer for the Etowah County EMA.
The Etowah County EMA has a Volunteer Reception Center at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, located at 5850 Sardis Road, Boaz, AL 35956.
The center will be open Thursday and Friday, May 1-2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekend hours are still to be determined. If you would like to volunteer with cleanup, please bring a photo ID and check in there.
If you would like to make a financial donation to help victims or first responders, please call 211 to donate through United Way.
The American Red Cross is standing by to open a shelter at First Baptist Church of Sardis, if needed. However, Huselton of the Etowah County EMA said most families affected have found a temporary place to stay with relatives or friends.
If you know of a centralized volunteer effort we should add, please email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.