Grand Ole Opry

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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