Do Good Country Spotlight: Help Feed Middle Tennessee

June 23, 2010 at 10:46 am , by

Earlier this month, I wrote about my pending trip to Nashville to soak up the CMA Fest and to volunteer with hot country duo Coldwater Jane at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Despite the stifling temperatures outside, Coldwater’s Brandon Jane, Leah Crutchfield and I all had a blast sorting through and boxing up close to 12,000 pounds of food with the rest of our top-notch volunteer group. The three of us left incredibly inspired by the Second Harvest team and amazed at the never-ending great work they do. (Special shout-outs to our group leaders Ben and Toni!) Check out this video to get more details on what we humbly did that afternoon and how rewarding an experience it was. You also get to hear Coldwater Jane’s addictive track “Bring On the Love” and see ’em in action.

And just in case you haven’t donated yet to our online food drive for Second Harvest, please consider doing so. (It’s up and running through July 30.) Though the floods were in early May, the area will be in recovery mode for quite some time. Middle Tennessee’s Davidson county is battling $2 billion in damages alone. Across the state, more than 11,000 homes and business have suffered extensive damages and many families have been displaced.

Second Harvest itself was partially flooded and had no electricity for several days, which resulted in the loss of $200,000 worth of perishable food. Their Kids Café and BackPack Program, which provides low-income kids with nutritious meals and snacks, were both temporarily interrupted. According to Second Harvest, the number of people seeking emergency food has increased by 50 percent after the floods and those numbers sadly don’t seem to be waning.

Here’s the good news, though: Just $6.25 helps to serve 24 meals, so it’s easy to help make a big difference. Please do, if you can, by clicking here and donating.

My thanks to Coldwater Jane for their hard work (and laughs), and to everyone at Second Harvest for all of their help in setting up our volunteer session and food drive, especially Meghan, Heidi, Heather, Ben and Toni. Keep up the great work!

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.

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