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Support for tornado recovery in Southern U.S. states

April 10, 2023

Several tornadoes have hit lower U.S. states in recent weeks, and response groups are being stretched thin by the number of disasters they are addressing.


As part of the recovery effort, a number of organizations are providing resources to deploy throughout the south and raise funds for effective recovery needs, such as the rebuilding of homes, the provision of mental health services, and other challenges that may be identified in partnership with the affected communities. Below are funds that have been set up to direct resources, as well as agencies who are on the ground in the region, providing services and support. While a group has indicated that they are currently active in the indicated area(s), this may quickly change. 

Funds:
Note:  All states * means all states with major tornado activities.

Arkansas Community Foundation (Arkansas) - For longer-term recovery efforts, the Arkansas Community Foundation has established three funds, and is waiving all fees associated with donations to these funds: Cross County Community Foundation’s Board, with the support of the State office will make grants from the Cross County Tornado Recovery Fund and the Wynne Public Schools Tornado Relief Fund to nonprofits serving those affected. The State office (Little Rock) will make grants from the Central Arkansas Recovery Fund to nonprofits serving those affected in central Arkansas.

Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund  (Arkansas) – APSSF has set up a tornado fund because 186 scholarship recipients and 46 recent graduates lay in the direct path of the storm. This type of event can easily cause a single parent to drop out of school. They anticipate three levels of emergency financial assistance being needed: Students needing help replacing perishable food lost during the power outages. ($200 - $300 per household); Others needing help to replace lost or damaged textbooks, laptops, and other personal property. ($500 - $750); and Those with more severe damage, for example: needing help meeting the deductible for car repairs and a long hotel stay while repairs are made to a rented home ($1,000 or more per person). They currently have a match donor for what they call their “greatest need for emergency funds in at least the past decade!”
 
Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) (all states) - CDP has a Tornado Recovery Fund. The Fund will focus on medium and long-term recovery needs such as rebuilding homes and livelihoods, mental health services, and other challenges identified in partnership with affected communities as recovery efforts progress.
 
Community Foundation of Washington County (Mississippi) -  Is hosting the South Delta Disaster Recovery Fund. The Community Foundation of Washington has been “boots on the ground” to help their friends and neighbors in Washington, Sharkey, Issaquena and Humphreys counties with their long-term disaster recovery needs since 2016. The mission of the Community Foundation of Washington County is connecting people who care with causes that matter to create a thriving community for all. Their vision is to be the trusted leader, catalyst and resource that encourages philanthropy, combines resources and connects donors to community needs now and for future generations.
 
CREATE Foundation (Mississippi) - CREATE is partnering with United Way of Northeast Mississippi to host a disaster fund. CREATE is a community foundation, striving to make northeast Mississippi the best place to live. The mission of CREATE Foundation is to encourage philanthropy and provide leadership to impact regional issues. The United Way of Northeast Mississippi fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Northeast Mississippi. Their mission is to create opportunities to improve lives in the communities they serve.
 
Little Rock Cares Emergency Relief Fund  (Arkansas) - The City of Little Rock invites residents to make a donation to the Little Rock Cares Emergency Relief Fund. This fund will provide financial support to those affected by the tornados that hit Little Rock on March 31st. This fund will be overseen by the finance department.
 
Wabash Valley Community Foundation (Indiana) - With extensive damage in Sullivan County from the recent devastating storms, the Wabash Valley Community Foundation has launched an ongoing emergency and disaster relief fund to help support recovery and relief efforts in Sullivan County. The donation fund provides an avenue for those wishing to contribute and is set to prioritize immediate and long-term recovery and relief efforts for those impacted by the storms in Sullivan County.
 
United Way of Southeast Missouri­ (UWSEMO) (Missouri) - United Way of Southeast Missouri has created a Bollinger County Recovery Fund in response to the devastating tornado that swept through the region early Wednesday morning. UWSEMO created a similar fund immediately following the Perryville tornado in 2017, which distributed over $73,000 back to the community. Both Perry and Bollinger County are in the footprint of United Way of Southeast Missouri. United Way was one of several organizations that comprised Perryville’s Long-term Recovery Committee created to identify needs and determine distribution of funds. As with the Perryville fund, the use of funds collected for Bollinger County will be determined by a similar committee and volunteers on United Way’s Community Investment Committee based on input from tornado victims, local social service employees, and community leaders.
 
United Way of West Central Mississippi (Mississippi) - United Way of West Central Mississippi works to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. By bringing people and resources together to address these issues, and by attacking their underlying causes, they hope to make lasting, fundamental change for everyone. They aim to build a stronger, healthier community by bringing together the human, financial and strategic resources necessary to deliver measurable improvements and solutions to the critical health and human services facing the communities they serve.
 
United Way of Southeast Louisiana (Mississippi) - WDSU and United Way of Southeast Louisiana, announced the Mississippi Tornado Relief Fund to help families recover after the storm. 100% of the funds will support immediate relief efforts and long-term rebuilding in affected communities.
 
 
NGOs:
 
Airlink (Mississippi) – Airlink works with aviation and logistics partners to transport relief workers and emergency supplies of reputable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) responding to disasters. Airlink is prepositioned to respond with transportation needs for partners on the ground. Airlink's response to the Mississippi Tornadoes is underway. Demand in the pipeline is expected to grow for both response and into recovery phases for transportation and logistics support into the affected area from NGOs. Flights from Airlink support skilled responders, professionals and volunteers.
 
All Hands and Hearts (Mississippi and other states as needed/requested) - They are an organization committed to effectively and efficiently addressing the immediate and long-term needs of global communities impacted by disasters. All Hands and Hearts arrives early for first response and stays late to rebuild schools and homes in a disaster-resilient way.
 
American Red Cross (ARC) (All States) - ARC provides emergency disaster relief, including shelters, meals and snacks, health and mental health support, clean-up supplies, hygiene kits etc., to communities affected by disasters. And support shelter operations, staging staff at county Emergency Operation Centers, feeding, supply distribution.
 
Americares - Americares is currently responding remotely, and they are prepared to offer gifts-in-kind and grants where needed. They can provide medicine and medical supplies such as tetanus (TDAP) vaccines, hygiene kits, or other general medicines. If any clinics, shelters, or nonprofit hospitals are in need of medical assistance they can help fill that gap.
 
Catholic Charities USA (Mississippi) – Catholic Charities will respond in both immediate relief and long-term recovery phases. Currently, they are working to coordinate transportation services for hard-hit areas. They provide emotional and spiritual care, case management and long-term support.
 
Convoy of Hope (multiple states – AR, MS) - Convoy of Hope is responding with relief supplies, including tarps, food, water, cleanup supplies and other necessities. Convoy of Hope operates in several different program areas: children's feeding, community outreach, disaster response, agriculture, rural compassion and women's empowerment.
 
Cooperation Jackson (Mississippi) - The broad mission of Cooperation Jackson is to advance the development of economic democracy in Jackson, Mississippi by building a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and other types of worker-owned and democratically self-managed enterprises.
 
Emergency Legal Responders (Mississippi) ELR is working with a local mutual aid group to develop a tornado rights pamphlet. ELR helps people faced with disasters solve and prevent legal challenges by providing free, accessible, and easily understandable information and services. They do this through customized legal training for disaster-response service providers, free and accessible legal information slides and free community legal clinics.
 
Ferncliff (Arkansas) – Ferncliff’s camp and resort facilities are currently housing Red Cross volunteers so that they don’t take away housing from survivors. They also regularly house Presbyterian Disaster Assistance or Church World Service volunteers. They also have a Disaster Assistance Center where they create/store disaster relief kits, which needs replenishing.
 
Footprint Project (Mississippi) - Footprint Project’s mission is to help build back greener after disasters by mobilizing cleaner energy to communities in crisis. They are deploying solar-powered generators into impacted areas.
 
Global Empowerment Mission BStrong (GEM) (Mississippi and Alabama) - GEM’s proven model of efficiency is based on smart partnerships: “How to get the most amount of aid, to the most amount of people, in the least amount of time and for the least amount of money.” They have trucks of aid coming into Mississippi and will be on-site in Rolling Fork.

Good360 (all states) - Good360 takes a holistic approach to disaster recovery, starting with the impacted communities' immediate needs (even during the evacuation stage) and committing to staying for the long-term, always focused on delivering the correct goods to the right people at the right time. They are an excellent resource for corporate in-kind donations. Good360 needs both corporate pallets of items and cash assistance for purchasing and transportation.

Greater Good Charities (MS, GA, AL) - Greater Good Charities works to help people, pets, and the planet by mobilizing in response to need and amplifying the good. They are responding to the deadly tornadoes that struck in Mississippi and other areas in the South. They’ve been in touch with emergency response teams in the field and are currently sending pharmaceuticals, pet food, animal care supplies and other resources to affected communities and pet rescues in Mississippi. They are also working with emergency management partners in Georgia and Alabama to identify current needs so they can be filled as quickly as possible.

HealthCare Ready (All states) - Healthcare Ready helps to strengthen healthcare supply chains through collaboration with public health and private sectors by addressing pressing issues before, during and after disasters. They are tracking impacts to healthcare access on the patient and clinical side. By working with their partners on the frontlines, they ready the healthcare supply chain to respond to and recover from disruptions in the communities where they serve, and as a convener of industry and government, they safeguard patient health by providing solutions to critical problems and best practices for healthcare preparedness and response.
 
Heart to Heart International (AR, MO, MS) - Heart to Heart International is responding to the tornadoes that tore through through the Midwest and South on Friday, March 31. HHI’s disaster response team has already sent 900 hygiene kits to their partner Arkansas Care, which has set up a mobile medical clinic in front of the Boys and Girls Club in Wynne, Arkansas, where there were several casualties and some of the heaviest impacts of the storms. Another 2,700 hygiene kits are being sent to the Arkansas Food Bank.
 
Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response (all states if invited in) - HOPE AACR gives Comfort in Times of Crisis by bringing emotional support with their specially-trained dog and handler teams. They support both the community and the disaster responders.
 
Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) (AL, GA, MS) - ITDRC harnesses the collective resources of the technology community to provide no-cost Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) solutions that connect survivors and responders in crisis. ITDRC provides communities with the technical resources necessary to continue operations and begin recovery after a disaster. projectConnect is aimed at connecting rural and underserved communities to assist students and others who need internet access.
 
Matthew 25: Ministries (AR, IN, MS) - Matthew 25: Ministries sent products and provided laundry and mobile charging services throughout affected areas by deploying the “Tide Loads of Hope Mobile Unit” that can complete up to 100 loads of laundry a day; Duracell Power-Forward truck equipped to carry as many as 20,000 Duracell batteries as well as on-board charging stations for mobile devices and Clean-Up Trailer equipped with tools and other supplies to help storm survivors clean up their homes and properties. Matthew 25: Ministries is preparing truckloads of other relief aid to be ready to ship to help meet the immediate and ongoing needs of those impacted.
 
Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS) (multiple states, based on need) - Mennonite Disaster Service has widened its needs assessment as spring tornadoes continue to devastate communities across the midwest and south. They have the ability to carry out early response activities if required, but their emphasis is on long-term recovery, especially rebuilding homes.
 
Mercy Chefs (AR) Mercy Chefs is a faith-based nonprofit disaster relief organization providing restaurant-quality meals to survivors of disasters. They have deployed to the affected areas to provide feeding for those in need.
 
Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition (MRRC) – Fiscal Sponsor People’s Advocacy Institute (Mississippi) The coalition will channel funds to groups who are in and supporting the impacted counties as they begin the long process of rebuilding their communities. MRRC has responded to crises caused by climate change and failing infrastructure across the state of Mississippi. The Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition (The Coalition), is led by the People’s Advocacy Institute, the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign, One Voice, MS, Jackson People’s Assembly, Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity (IJAE), Alternate ROOTS, Mississippi Moves, Operation Good, Strong Arms of Mississippi, Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, Southern Poverty Law Center, and over thirty partner organizations.
 
Mutual Aid Disaster Response (all states) Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a grassroots disaster relief network based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action. Their national network is made up of many eco-activists, social justice activists, global justice activists, street medics, herbalists, permaculturalists, mutual aid organizers, Black liberation organizers, community organizers, and others who are actively organizing around supporting disaster survivors in a spirit of mutual aid and solidarity. It is a decentralized network across the so called United States, defined by the character and creativity of a multitude of communities and drawn together by our collective commitment to stand in solidarity with those impacted by disasters and turn the tide in favor of climate justice.
 
Operation Blessing (AR and MS) – Operation Blessing assessment teams are on the ground identifying needs and building partnerships to send in relief. On March 27, the ministry sent a shipment of bottled water, emergency meal kits, and cleanup supplies to Bethel Church in Amory, Mississippi.
 
Operation BBQ Relief (Arkansas and Tennessee) – Armed with a caravan of cooks, mobile pits, kitchens and volunteers, Operation BBQ Relief delivers the healing power of BBQ in times of need, feeding first responders and communities affected by natural disasters along with year-round efforts to fight hunger through The Always Serving Project and Camp OBR programs.
 
Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (all states) – They are supporting disabled survivors of the tornadoes by increasing the number of operators for their hotline in anticipation of a higher volume of calls and coordinating with their networks to support a variety of needs. These will likely include: coordinating transportation to shelters, advocating to prevent discrimination and institutionalization, diverting people from institutions to hotels with wrap around services, coordinating home delivery of water, food, durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, and other essentials to people unable to access standard points of distribution and ensuring effective communication by government and NGOs to ensure people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs understand and can act upon information in the same way as the general public
 
Salvation Army (all states) – The Salvation Army mobilized equipment and personnel to assist with relief efforts in Mississippi – they have canteens in Rolling Fork, Winona, Silver City and Amory. They are providing food, nourishment and water, emotional and spiritual care and will also be engaged in recovery efforts. They will be in place long-term.
 
Samaritan's Purse (AR, IN, MS, TN) Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people worldwide. Samaritan's Purse is ready to respond quickly to help homeowners in need. They currently have two locations one in Amory, and the other in Rolling Fork. These volunteer teams will focus primarily on uninsured and low income areas, but their assistance will be available to anybody that creates a work request with them. They have the heavy equipment and tools available to assist in roof tarping, general yard cleanup/tree debris, and content recovery when the home was completely destroyed. They also partner with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association in regards to Crisis Chaplains on site.
 
SBP (formerly St. Bernard Project) (all states – different levels of service) – In the early days, SBP will virtually deploy FEMA appeals training to community leaders and NGO partners, virtually deploy SHARE team to connect w/ NGOs about best practices for recovery, connect with government leaders to provide guidance on immediate and long-term decisions and ways to advocate for federal money, connect with community leaders to provide disaster case management training and deploy a geo-targeted digital campaign of post-disaster recovery materials to help survivors avoid pitfalls of recovery. Depending on funds raised, may be able to respond in-person including: FEMA appeals team can provide on-the-ground support and funding for subcontractor bids that will help with appeals, SHARE program can provide grants and training to local NGOs who lead rebuilding, support case management and manage subs to support long-term rebuilding.
 
Save the Children (Mississippi) – Teams are working to meet children’s most urgent needs, assess the situation and plan long-term recovery efforts. In coordination with state and local partners, Save the Children staff are preparing to deliver essential, child-focused items to kids and families who need them most in western Mississippi – such as water, food, hygiene kits, diapers and more. They remain in affected communities for as long as they’re needed to ensure children are protected.
 
SendRelief (all states) – A collaboration between the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, Send Relief is the Southern Baptist one-stop shop for compassion ministry at home and abroad. When responding to disasters, their primary partner is Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Across all fifty states, thousands of volunteers respond when a crisis hits, quickly providing assistance ranging from serving hot meals to helping families clean up after a storm.

Team Rubicon (MS, MO and others as requested) – Team Rubicon’s mission is providing relief to those affected by disaster or crises, no matter when or where they strike. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.
 
ToolBank USA (as requested) –  ToolBank Disaster Services provides the tools to get the job done. They deploy staff and various sized trailers filled with tools to equip community-based organizations and their volunteers at no cost. They are available to send a wide-range of equipment to the non-profits on the ground doing recovery or clean-up.
 
World Central Kitchen (AL, AR and MS)   In partnership with local chefs, WCK teams are spread out across the region to bring meals to communities in need. Their team has been visiting communities to assess food and water needs, including the hard hit towns of Rolling Fork, MS; Amory, MS; Silver City, MS; Hamilton, AL; and more. They have identified locations with needs for both food service at shelters and door-to-door remote food distribution going into this week. They are already working with food trucks and local restaurants to help prepare meals. As always, they are focused on filling gaps and meeting people where they are, which means much of their meal distribution so far has been door-to-door as people try to salvage their homes. They are also serving meals to displaced families living in hotels.
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