Here are some local efforts to respond to recent tornadoes and severe storms. Please notify the Times-Gazette at 684-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org if we can assist in publicizing other efforts.
* Bob Parks Realty, 605 Delray Street, is accepting items for tornado relief in the Birmingham, Ala., area. Taylor Northern, a former student of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is a staff member at the real estate firm's Murfreesboro office and is coordinating the effort.
Items being sought include non-perishable food, personal care items, pet food, matches, coolers, batteries, first aid supplies, cleaning supplies, nails and flashlights.
* Calvary Baptist Church, 405 Lane Parkway, and Barnyard Kids, 330 Bethany Lane, are both accepting donations to assist the town of Cordova, Ala., north of Birmingham.
* First Presbyterian Church is forming groups of youth and adults to travel to Bradley County to help with storm cleanup. The Bradley County Baptist Association and The Salvation Army are coordinating activities, and have use for all skill sets, from using a chain saw to simply picking up branches. Ages from middle school up are welcome.
Teams will work Friday and Saturday. Volunteers may work one day or both; lunch will be provided and overnight accomodations are available. Some carpooling may be available. For more information, email Kristin Conley email@example.com or Richard Smith at Richard@selecttrailer.com or call Kristin at (931) 639-2225.
* Nursing students at Tennessee Technology Center at Shelbyville are collecting emergency supplies for tornado victims and will provide minor first aid and assist in clean-up efforts in the Huntsville, Ala., area Friday. Supplies can be left at TTCS and at area businesses until 2 p.m. Thursday. For more information, call (931) 308-4657 or (931) 308-5486.
* The American Red Cross Heart of Tennessee Chapter, which serves Bedford and other counties, has just deployed its third volunteer to the Chattanooga region to assist in disaster response operations there. Chattanooga is among the areas most heavily impacted by the recent tornados which swept through the South last week. Since then, the Heart of Tennessee Chapter has responded to the needs of hundreds of affected residents of Middle Tennessee, providing services in several Counties throughout the region, including Rutherford, Moore, Franklin, and Wayne.
"We've had volunteers come in from other places to help our community in the past - during the Good Friday Tornado, and in last year's May floods, for example. Now that things are relatively calm around here, it's our turn to go out and help others that have been hit hard," said Brian Toll, the Chapter's director of emergency services. "Our Red Cross Chapter has some of the best volunteers in the State. But there will always be more disasters to respond to, so we always need more volunteers."
The American Red Cross is a volunteer-based and volunteer-led organization. New volunteer orientations are held the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m., at the Red Cross office at 501 Memorial Blvd. in Murfreesboro. The next orientation will be Tuesday. To become a disaster services volunteer, call the Heart of Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross at (615) 893-4272 and speak to the receptionist.