Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Donations continue to pour into Tuscaloosa

    More than three weeks after a deadly tornado touched down in Tuscaloosa, devastating much of the city, money continues to pour in for victims of the disaster.

    Relief funds set up immediately after the storm by disaster relief agencies such as the Red Cross and United Way have seen very positive results.  The UA Acts of Kindness Fund, created to help students and staff who were affected by the storm, has also raised a large amount of money for victims.

    Although the disaster relief agencies and UA share the common purpose of providing assistance to storm victims, each does it in a different way.

    “Everyone brings something different to the table,” Red Cross Spokesperson Suzanne Horsley said, speaking of the diverse ways that donations are spent.

    According to a news release from the University, over $2 million have been donated to the UA Acts of Kindness Fund, which was established by the University to provide financial assistance to students and faculty who were affected by the tornado.

    “The purpose of the Acts of Kindness Fund is to provide appropriate relief to faculty, staff and students of The University of Alabama who experience a qualifying emergency or hardship, such as a tornado…or any circumstance which calls for immediate action following a sudden and unexpected happening,” the UA website states.

    Students and faculty in need may submit a request for assistance through the University website.  Applications are reviewed by a committee which has been appointed by UA’s President Whit.

    “The program may be used to help employees and students pay grocery bills, rent or mortgage payments, electric, gas and medical bills,” the UA website states.

    The Red Cross has also seen a large increase in donations since the storms, much of which has come from corporate donors.

    Some corporations, such as TAMCO Building Products, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the West Alabama chapter of the Red Cross.

    Although the Red Cross was unable to release a specific amount of funds that were donated for relief in the Tuscaloosa region, nearly $28 million has been donated or pledged for disaster relief in the southeast.

    “The Red Cross estimates that it will spend as much as $31 million responding to the recent disasters, and has received $27.6 million in pledges and contributions for those operations,” a news release on the Red Cross website states.

    Funds donated to the Red Cross are used to provide basic necessities for those affected by disasters, Red Cross spokesperson Suzanne Horsley said.

    “The Red Cross provides relief to those in immediate need,” she said.  “We provide food, a safe place to stay, clothing and other basic needs.”

    Immediately after the tornado struck Tuscaloosa, the Red Cross was on the scene providing water and meals to victims, she said.  Over 1,200 meals a day were served at the Belk Center and 2,800 more were delivered into the community each day.

    Basic medical necessities such as oxygen, insulin, medications and other medical needs were met by the agency at no charge, Horsley said.

    Even weeks after the storm, the Red Cross has no intention of packing up and leaving town.

    “As long as people need shelter, we will be here,” Horsley said.  “We are here for the duration.”

    The United Way has also seen a significant spike in contributions since the disaster.  Over the past three weeks, well over $100,000 have been donated for relief, none of which will be used for administrative costs, United Way volunteer Holly Beck said.

    “These funds that have come in from the time of the tornado until August 31 are strictly tornado relief,” Beck said.  “So, it’s going to back into the community and help those individuals who may need it in the future.”

    Funds collected through the United Way will be used to help people pick up the pieces and move on with their lives, she said.

    “All funds will go to help those who need to get their house rebuilt, continue to get the debris out of their yard, anything that may be related to getting them on with their life,” Beck said.

    United Way also uses funds to help storm victims cope with financial difficulties such as loss of job or serious damage to their place of business, she said.

    “A lot of them lost their jobs,” she said.  “Their place of business was destroyed.  So, we want to help them with some of their needs since they are now unemployed.”

    Storm victims in need may call 2-1-1 or 205-345-7775 for assistance from United Way.

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