Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank You and How to Help

I'm not sure I can adequately express my thanks for all the comments left on last week's post about my personal experience living through a tornado. It wasn't an easy thing for me to write, but I'm glad I did.

Several people who live on the West Coast mentioned that there is hardly any coverage over there about the disaster.

One of our own in the blogging community, Courtney Barr (the Southern princess), lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which was one of the harder hit towns. She and her family survived just fine, but are surrounded by the  ruins of hundreds of others' lives.

Courtney sent out an email yesterday to many of her friends and acquaintances in the blogging/writing world. If you didn't receive it, this is the text:

Most of you know me as The Southern Princess. Well it just so happens that on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 my Kingdom's surrounding lands was devastated by an EF4/EF5 Tornado.
It destroyed the main sections of Tuscaloosa, my city. It erased neighborhoods from the city map. We have over 1000 injured and 475 missing as of today - that is just my city. Alabama was the hardest hit of the 7 states affected by this storm. Due to national coverage of this breathtaking, in the ugliest sense of the word, tornado my city is receiving so much aide from other states & the national guard. Well, we are not the only town hurting. I was raised in a small rural town in south Alabama. I know what its like to only have 1 grocery store, a few locally owned eateries and very little access to larger cities. There are towns like that affected by this storm. Hackleburg, Alabama is destroyed. They are not easy to reach from the outside, they had only one grocery store and one gas station. Their government are gone and the people there need our help. Sawyerville, Snoddy, Phil Campbell, Gordo, Reform...the list can go on. These rural communities NEED our help.
I created a blog called ALL 4 ALABAMA and another email address to handle communications .
I am hoping that through all of us we can possibly set up an auction much like Do the Write Thing for Nashville did. These people need us. I am sitting right now comfortably within 4 walls, with my dog at my side and my husband safe & sound. Two streets over, literally, everything is gone. No houses stand, no laundry flaps in the breeze, no music from bedrooms, no mailboxes, no children playing in the streets - the children sift through what is left and parents smile as they are thankful to be alive.
I did not know where to start or how to help, when the outpouring of help came for Tuscaloosa & the radio calls for these small towns began to flood in, I could not stop thinking about how I could use my own resources. I have been welcomed into this writing community and have found such great comfort with each of you - please if you can help, if you know someone who can donate goods to auction, services, information - anything is welcomed and appreciated.
I am new to this (I am normally just bidding with everyone else) I want to help. If you cannot, I completely understand. Just email any ideas, direction, etc. to the new email account. I will be working on the site in the meantime.
No matter what the outcome of this endeavor thank you all for reading, for welcoming, for being such amazing people.
Lots of Love,

Please support Courtney--and the true recipients of her outreach, the victims--in any way you can. 

I found another group setting up an auction: Help Write Now. This is being spearheaded by this group of well-known people.

As always, the American Red Cross is set up for simple donation. From their website:

If you would like to help, there are several ways that people can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief: Visit to donate online, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Additional information is available on

Again, thank you for your outpouring on my personal situation, and please consider finding some small way to help others who are like I was 17 years ago. 


Shain Brown said...

I am so sorry for this tragedy and my heart goes out to everyone. Living in Florida and going through hurricanes you always expect some damage but you never expect to be in such a wake of damage.

In these situations you always feel like you aren't saying or doing enough.

Old Kitty said...

What a wonderful way to help!! I've also come across another blogger, Tracy of My thoughtful spot - who has a book out and will donate some proceeds of her book sold to the tornado relief too. So yay for lovely bloggers!!!

Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Such a terrible tragedy. Our town was hit on April 16, but nothing like that.

Sarah Ahiers said...

off to help right now!

OT - when did you change the name of your blog?

Hannah said...

Yay!! I'm off to check it out!

Jules said...

Off to check these out and Thank you. I'm trying to work out the logistics to get to Alabama by mid-week.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

NiaRaie said...

Very excited to be an Alabamian right now, in spite of everything. The support within the community and outside of it has been incredible. I will definitely share these links. Thanks for posting!

Colene Murphy said...

Was so thankful my friends and family were all safe in Alabama. Got really close to some, but my heart aches seeing all the devastation. Amazingly beautiful how people are rising up to help them all out!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I were visiting some of our family in St. Louis when the tornados hit there just a few weeks ago. Going through that experience, knowing we used to live right in one of the areas that got hit, was just overwhelming.

M Pax said...

I'm sorry you're going through this tragedy, but am glad you're OK. Will keep you in my thoughts and your neighbors.

Theresa Milstein said...

What happened in the south is just awful. How nice of you to tell us about Courtney.

Guinevere said...

Oh, Summer, I just read your personal story of the tornadoes and it was so heartbreaking. I'm so glad everyone in your family survived. Thanks for writing such a personal account. And thank you for the links on how to help - I'm going to check out the Southern Princess' site now.