How you can get involved following Nashville’s Mar. 3 tornadoes: a compilation of resources and efforts aiding the recovery of Middle Tennessee

The devastation following Nashville’s tornadoes in the early morning of Mar. 3 requires an active and willing volunteer base pulled from the Vanderbilt community.

The+Nashville+community+is+coming+together+to+rebuild+after+the+tornadoes+Mar.+3%2C+and+Vanderbilt+students+can+give+back.

Eva Durchholz

The Nashville community is coming together to rebuild after the tornadoes Mar. 3, and Vanderbilt students can give back.

Evan Monk and Sahanya Bhaktaram

Homes, schools and cultural landmarks destroyed. Power outages across the city. At least 25 dead as of Mar. 4. The effects of last Tuesday’s tornadoes are still reverberating across Middle Tennessee. 

As rubble and debris took the place of once-prominent Nashville staples, like the beloved Basement East live music venue, many in the Vanderbilt community are turning to activism and volunteer work to help get Music City back on its feet. 

North Nashville, a community already marked by gentrification and poverty, faces a tough battle ahead, as it has even less access to resources than other affected areas do. Relief efforts on and off campus are detrimental to the recovery of Nashville’s grief-stricken counties. 

Here you can find ongoing resources and relief efforts both on and off campus in the wake of last week’s natural disaster.  

On-campus efforts for recovery and student wellbeing:

  • Vanderbilt Athletics organized a donation drive at the McGugin Center on Saturday, Mar. 7 and offered free tickets for first responders and those directly impacted by the storms to attend the home men’s basketball game on the same day. 
  • Students involved in Vanderbilt’s Alternative Spring Break program helped sort supplies alongside Gideon’s Army for those affected by the tornadoes.
  • An email sent to all Vanderbilt students from the dean of students on the afternoon of Mar. 3 compiled a list of resources for Vanderbilt students who may need assistance following Tuesday’s storms. Some of the resources include the Dean of Students Office, the University Counseling Center, and the Center for Student Wellbeing. 
  • A GroupMe named Tornado Volunteers has been created, convening members of the Vanderbilt community who are interested in getting involved in recovery efforts. Volunteer outings have already been arranged and carried out by members of this chat since Mar. 3.

Annabelle Bailey, a rising first-year, shared her involvement with North Nashville recovery efforts.

“I’m an activist with the Sunrise Movement Nashville, and one of our core principles is taking care of each other and our community,” Bailey said. “We want to help our neighbors recover from the trauma through love, and we also want to make sure that we help protect the beautiful community that is North Nashville from the aggressive gentrification that is only accelerated by natural disasters like this. It’s a big mixture of love and justice.”

Bailey stressed the importance of on-campus involvement and the integral part that Vanderbilt plays in the recovery of Middle Tennessee and North Nashville specifically.

“At Vanderbilt, even within the bubble that a college campus can become, we’re still a part of the Nashville community. We are surrounded by the culture and the history of Nashville, and we take in the benefits of being a part of that community every day,” Bailey said. “It’s important to give just as we take in our community, because that’s how we sustain each other, and in order to thrive as a city and a community, it is important to invest in justice and restoration for our neighbors.”

Off-campus and community outlets:

Community Foundation of Tennessee: 615-321-4939

The link above allows you to make donations (a minimum donation of $5) to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund which will provide grants to nonprofit services providing both immediate relief in addition to long term efforts made to help those affected to rebuild their lives.

Hands-on Nashville (Also Coordinating Volunteer Efforts): 615-298-1109

GoFundMe for Susan (Former Faculty VUcept Partner)

Susan Sutton, a senior Chemistry lecturer at Vanderbilt, had her house destroyed by the tornado. If you are looking to help the Sutton family fundraise for a new home, the above link will lead you to their GoFundMe page. They are nearing their goal of $25,000.

Martha O’Bryan: 615-254-1791

According to its mission statement, The Martha O’Bryan Center “empowers children, youth, and adults in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment and fellowship. The center charters two K-8 schools, has a student union which gives high school students access to tutors and mentors throughout their high school experience motivating them to pursue a college education, provides clinical services for families and more.” They are actively involved in efforts to rebuild following the tornado.

Gideon’s Army (Collecting Materials for North Nashville Residents)

Join the Gideon’s Army Drive by pitching in household goods such as cleaning supplies, socks, nails, etc. (check Facebook page for everything needed). If those sounds like a way you want to help out, Gideon’s Army has two drop off locations, the McGruder Family Resource Center and Mt. Gilead Church. Donations may be held at YMCA.

Vanderbilt Faculty and Staff Hardship Fund

Text RELIEF2020 to 41444 to donate to the United Way. You can donate by cash, check, or in person.

Rebuildnorthnashville.com

Check out their information on donation drives and funding for the efforts of rebuilding North Nashville.

#DontSellOutNorf Homeowners/Canvassing meeting: 

This initiative is calling real estate professionals, lawyers, government officials and insurance professionals to help with efforts to amass resources for homeowners who were affected by the hurricane. Meetings are held on Mondays at noon and 6 p.m.

 

“If you have experience with skilled labor, your labor would definitely be appreciated in rebuilding, but it’s going to take a lot of money to rebuild the community, so if you can donate to Gideon’s Army, that is incredibly helpful. If you can’t, definitely spread the word to people who have the resources to do so,” Bailey said.

With accelerated relief efforts underway on and off campus, Vanderbilt students have many options to get involved in aiding the recovery of neighboring Nashville areas. All students returning to campus from spring break will be greeted with a call to action: to help those in need and to aid in the recovery of a cherished city.