Responding to Tennessee tornadoes

March 5, 2020 – From inside his home in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, James Casler could heard the intensity of the EF-4 tornado that touched down in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Casler peeked outside after the storm passed and didn’t think much about it because he could not see much damage. Soon, however, he learned that just two streets over, rows of houses had been completely destroyed.

You never think that your backyard is going to be a natural disaster and that it will be the focus of national attention, ” Casler said. Starting from 12:30 am on Tuesday, Casler has been working to help those neighbors and family members whose houses were destroyed.

Casler works as the Director of the J. V. Morsch Center For Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University and helped distribute hundreds of the hygiene kits Heart to Heart International delivered to Tennessee.

Within 24 hours of Heart to Heart shipping the kits, they were in the hands of people who needed them,” Casler said.

Springdale Elementary, the neighborhood school for many of the areas affected, has become a distribution center for people affected by the tornado. Casler delivered kits to the school principal who was grateful for the supplies to give to people who needed them.

“Everyone is grateful to all the organizations, including Heart to Heart International, that have responded from outside the community and outside the state, even. Seeing that help and concern and care really lifts the spirits of people affected.

Casler has been heartened by the way everyone is coming together to help people in need. “Something like this really makes you grateful for life and the little things and family. It has been amazing to see the resilience of the community as it has come together.”

Heart to Heart International continues to work with Casler and Trevecca Community Church to deliver more aid to the communities in need. The EF-3 and EF-4 tornadoes killed 25 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. The hygiene kits include such everyday necessities as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and shampoo, which are important to maintaining good hygiene and health as people work to rebuild their lives.

March 4, 2020 – A deadly tornado touched down in Middle Tennessee early Tuesday, March 3, killing at least 24 people and destroying at least 140 buildings.

Heart to Heart International (HHI) immediately began communicating with partners in the area to determine what their needs were and how to best help.

On March 3, HHI sent 900 hygiene kits to the Community Resource Center of Nashville to be distributed to people in shelters in the community. The kits that were sent were assembled last week in Nashville by employees of Ecolab through HHI’s PowrServ program. Hygiene kit assembly events are designed to build hygiene kits and have them ready and available for the next disaster. No one predicted that the next disaster would be in these employees’ own backyard. Those 900 kits arrived in Nashville today.

Another 900 hygiene kits are being sent today to the McGruder Family Resource Center in Nashville. HHI staff is continuing to reach out to various health centers, hospitals, and community organizations in Nashville to determine the best ways to help those affected by this devastating storm.