We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that ripped apart East Nashville and continued across the state. While so much progress has been made, the work is still ongoing. For two weeks immediately following the storm, work was constant. Then the pandemic hit, and everything non-essential was halted. Our work has continued, both in meeting immediate needs (food, clothing, household items, etc.) and in larger, longterm needs (housing, employment, rent assistance, etc.)
We still have displaced families from the storm. We've worked with many to find temporary housing, and then worked to meet their immediate needs once the pandemic started. It's been an ongoing process. In some cases, repair and construction are only just beginning.
As the anniversary approaches (March 3), we'll be recapping and sharing stories of the work so far. Please tune in to our social media channels.
Our families in East Nashville are still rebuilding after the March tordanoes --rebuilding homes, and rebuilding careers and family economic plans due to jobs lost from the destruction. Our food bank remains the busiest in the entire city. Between the tornadoes and pandemic combined, we have distributed over $300,000 in replaced income as financial assistance for rent and other emergency expenses for families. We have also provided free counseling to over 100 families experiencing trauma and post-traumatic stress after the tornadoes.
As winter approaches, we are preparing a socially-distanced and outdoor clothing give away (like a yard sale but free) to distribute more of the clothing that was donated after the tornadoes hit. Many of the items we collected are coats and other layers that were not as needed in March but now our families are asking for clothing a lot more a the weather changes. They are jsut now realizing that this is anoher part of their wardrobe that they lost when their homes were destroyed.
We are grateful for the encouragement from all over the country as we continue to support families coping with so many challenges at once in 2020. Thank you!
Jun 22, 2020
Martha O'Bryan Center Tornado Report: June 2020
By Peter Martino - Chief Development Officer
Our main campus in East Nashville is providing financial assistance, food security (children, seniors and families), crisis counseling (trauma, mental health, eviction prevention, utility support, etc.) and direct tornado recovery housing assistance. Though we always execute immediate relief efforts, our strength is assisting with long term recovery due to our strong wrap around and employment services. We are a “recovery one stop shop” in that we have a financial assistance, a large food security program, 5000 sq. ft. dedicated to the Household Hub with everything from beds to paper towels and a team of social workers experts in grief and loss. The objective is to continue meeting all these needs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are still providing essential and crisis services, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In East Nashville, the two disasters have had unseen levels of impact on families – financially, emotionally, and even physically. In an average week this spring, we serve over 1,000 individuals in the food bank with prepared meals and food boxes --over 4 times the typical need. Most people who are in our car line are impacted by both disasters, the tornado and COVID-19, some lost businesses or employment to the March 3rd Tornado AND had damage to their home.