We are known as the Volunteer State and we didn’t just happen upon that name for no reason….this is a strong, committed, loving community who at the sign of crisis or disaster drop everything they are doing to help those in need. So often we see tragedies, life changing events (natural or man-made) happen all over the world and Tennesseans are right there, bags packed, eager to be of service to those crying out for help. Tennesseans quickly grab their wallet, change jar, organize benefits and telethons to alleviate the costs of restoring an area and lives hit hard by an unforeseen circumstance.
So it was not a surprise to me that within moments of folks knowing floods were rising and people’s lives were in danger, Tennesseans went out in droves and performed rescues, walked and swam raging waters to save folks trapped in their cars, hiding in attics, clinging to trees and sitting on roof tops. As Tennesseans watched the horrors on television; they quickly got together in groups and organized clothing and food drives and partnered with their local non-profits to volunteer their time to preparing and serving meals, collect clothes, help clean up hard hit areas or just simply be a shoulder to cry on; a warm, kind voice that sweetly shares, “everything is going to be ok.”
The Salvation Army has been proudly serving the Nashville community since 1892 and in 2010, we are honored to once again serve the Middle Tennessee community at their time of need….because we are in this together!!! Since Monday, we have served via our canteens 6022 complete meals (includes drinks, snacks, hot/cold prepared meals) powered by staff and volunteers who donated so far to date a total of 711.25 hours. Currently we are serving emergency personnel at Office of Emergency Management/SE Precinct and folks at the Hadley Community Center, Coleman Community Center and Bellevue Community Center. As neighborhoods open up, our canteens courtesy of this location as well as Knoxville, TN, Madisonville. KY, Bowling Green, KY will move into neighborhoods affected by the floods and provide clean up kits, food, water and emotional/spiritual care. At The Salvation Army – Murfreesboro Corps, they are continuing to do mass feedings within their hard hit areas and have set up a shelter that is currently at capacity. The Salvation Army Citadel Corps located in Madison has been feeding meals all day to areas that have experienced heavy flooding as well.
The Salvation Army here in Nashville located on Dickerson Rd has housed over 75 men at our Community Center since Monday when The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center flooded Sunday Night where water reached the ceiling of the first floor of offices, destroyed the thrift store, warehouse and trucks. Everyone was safely rescued by boat and grateful to the emergency teams here in Nashville for their quick response.
We know this will be a long, on-going process as families head back to their neighborhoods, ready to clean or gut their homes; basically starting over or find there is nothing left to restore. But we firmly believe that Tennesseans refuse to be victims, but prefer to be fighters; band together and overcome this situation; get up from the ground and stand taller than ever before!