Do Good: Helping Middle Tennessee

May 5, 2010 at 11:56 pm , by

OpryStageDoor_fullsizeOur thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Nashville and middle Tennessee, who are still living in some pretty dicey conditions following this past weekend’s horrific flooding and tornadoes.

Due to damaged water plants, residents today were still being advised to use water for drinking, food prep and hand washing only. Amidst rumors that water will be cut off (it won’t be), there’s fear that people will start filling their tubs with water, only making the situation worse. In Davidson county, 450 roads have been damaged. About 8,000 bridges need to be inspected to be sure they’re safe to drive on. Tennessee’s governor has declared 52 counties disaster areas. People in Hickman County had no electricity, phone, cell or internet service) for four days, so they didn’t get warnings about needing to boil their water. Officials are now hoping there’s not a mass outbreak of illness there due to contaminated water consumption. In the end, it’s possible the cost of damage from the flooding could top $1 billion.

Even famed tourist locations like the Grand Ole Opry have been affected, and the sight of its famed stage door half covered by flooding (taken by Opry photographer Chris Hollo) has served as an iconic image of the disaster. But it’s more than the high-profile locations that need help. I checked back in with singer Jimmy Wayne, who was just outside Fort Sumner, Arizona, on his Meet Me Halfway walk, about the odds stacked against those already suffering before the storms. “What happened to Nashville and the surrounding communities this past weekend is tragic,” he says. “The city has been devastated. Some of those hardest hit are the homeless, many of whom lived by the river. They had nothing to begin with, and now even the soup kitchens that feed them are running low on food. So many communities are still under water and the people are suffering. Please do what you can to help those affected by the flood.”

Luckily, there’s been a lot of reports about the Nashville community and those around it rallying in very grassroots ways. A colleague of mine from the area tells me her neighborhood receives multiple alerts a day telling them where to go to help and what supplies to bring. I’ve been on email chains of friends down there who are rounding up others to come help them help their neighbors rip out damaged carpets and drywall. It’s all very inspiring, but middle Tennessee shouldn’t have to go it alone.

It would be great to get some more widespread help for the area. Read on after the jump to find out how you can donate your money, time or materials to help middle Tennessee on its long road to recovery.

• If you happen to be in the Nashville area, stop by 3rd & Lindsley’s May 6 benefit for Musicians On Call, a nonprofit group that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. “The flooding was devastating, but in that devastation the people of Nashville have come together to help each other out,” says singer-songwriter Jeanne Richardson. “We’d already been planning a benefit for Musicians On Call, but given the weekend’s events, organizer Josee Deschenes wanted to expand the reach of the show to help those affected by the flood. So we’ll be collecting clothing, cell phones, bottled water, baby wipes, bleach and other desperately needed supplies. We know it’s just one of many efforts to help restore lives and tap into our musical gifts to make a difference.”

• If you’re not a local, tune in to WSMV-TV’s website on May 6 from 8 to 11 p.m. eastern time to watch a live-stream benefit event featuring such artists such as Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Alison Krauss, Naomi Judd, Darius Rucker, Lee Roy Parnell and others. And if you’re watching (nudge, nudge), please feel free to donate generously!

Nashvillest has a great online resource here that, in a very concise manner, breaks down how you can help based on what you have to offer. Find the section that speaks to you and take it from there. Sections include “I have money,” “I have stuff,” “I have time” and “I have the internet.” Not much more explanation needed!

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is another excellent resource for donating much needed funds. The CFMT is an organization that serves 40 counties in the state and regularly helps provide flexible and cost-effective ways for civic-minded individuals, families and companies to contribute to their community.

Photos courtesy of Bev Moser.

7 Responses to “Do Good: Helping Middle Tennessee”

  1. Thanks for helping get the word out about helping Nashville! We really do need it!


  2. Thanks for the write-up… will do what all I can to help!


  3. I’m not a Nashville resident but I have family who live in the area. It infuriates me that for the most part this is being brushed aside, if not all out ignored by the media. Looks like it’s going to be up the residents of Nashville, of Tennessee and country music fans to get the word out about what’s happened and what is needed to recover. As a fans of country music and a family member of Tennessee residents…thanks so much for bringing attention to this.


  4. The photos are heartbreaking…I remember the beautiful city from my vacation there last year. Pray that Nashville can rebuild, I will do what I can to help.


  5. We’ve also just announced an online virtual food drive benefittig the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee: http://bit.ly/c28TJZ Hope we can raise lots of donations!


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