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

Forget Us Not Tuscaloosa creates volunteer program

After an EF4 tornado devastated areas of West Alabama in late April, Tuscaloosa News reporter Chase Goodbread created a Facebook group to raise long-term volunteerism for Tuscaloosa tornado relief.

The group, Forget Us Not Tuscaloosa, works to attract volunteers to fill every day of an entire calendar year that began on June 1, 2011.

Goodbread said the idea came from watching the short-term relief provided by various other organizations in Tuscaloosa.

“We knew in two to four months, the short-term aid would be gone,” Goodbread said. “We wanted to help create something more long-term and widespread. The goal is to have one person claim each of the 365 days in the calendar year.”

Many UA students are among the volunteers who have signed up to devote their time or money to a community service project of their choice for an entire day.

Kelsey Richaud, a senior majoring in art history, said she heard about the organization through her church group on campus and wanted to help.

“Tuesday was the day I chose to volunteer,” Richaud said. “I saved clothes and food to donate to the local food back and emergency services.”

Alabama Credit Union, partnering with Forget Us Not Tuscaloosa, has sponsored a calendar, which sells for $5, to help volunteers remember their chosen date.

“ACU promises to match each calendar sold up to $50,000 for the Tuscaloosa Disaster Relief fund,” Kelly Jones said. “As of right now, we have $10,000 ready to donate. We would really love to be able to donate the full $50,000.”

Gov. Robert Bentley, Mayor Walt Maddox and former University of Alabama football players are among those who have registered. Their pictures appear on the calendar on their specified dates.

Alabama Credit Union also chose one day of each month in which their employees donate or volunteer to local organizations. Forest Lake Baptist Church, the Tuscaloosa Animal Shelter and the Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign are among the organizations helped by ACU.

Trey Newman, a senior majoring in management, signed up to serve food and water around severely damaged homes in Alberta on June 1, the first date people were allowed to sign up.

“I wanted to help the organization and raise awareness for the cause,” Newman said. “I think it’s neat that every day at least one individual will volunteer in some way.”

Newman said he lived at the Retreat when the tornado tore through, and he saw firsthand how big it was and the destruction it left in its wake.

“I actually left to study abroad in Italy in May, and it was one of those things where you hate leaving your home behind, damaged the way it was,” Newman said. “It was kind of on my mind the whole time I was in Italy. When I got home, I really wanted to help, so I signed up for the first available date on Forget Us Not Tuscaloosa. There weren’t that many admissions at the time.”

Goodbread said the organization has grown steadily in the past few months, with around 165 dates having been claimed so far.

“I think it is a great cause, and I really encourage everyone to sign up,” Newman said. “It shows that our community will never forget April 27.”

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