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Report by: Lillie Buckingham & Barbara Barnes,

South Central Conference Adventist Community Services Disaster Response volunteers provided disaster assistance to families impacted by the March 3, 2020 tornadoes that ripped through the Nashville area. The tornadoes and severe storms caused 25 weather-related fatalities, damaged or destroyed five public schools, left 101,521 residents without power, and closed State Government offices.

The ACS Disaster Response team met at New Life SDA Church, Christopher Hughes, pastor, to sort and assemble hygiene kits for the survivors affected by the disaster.  The hygiene kits consist of hand towel, small bath towel, bar of soap or bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and hair comb.

 Christine Washington, President of Middle TN ACS Federation, Regina Stevenson, Federation ACS Disaster Response Coordinator and their team members walked the streets of North Nashville performing Mobile Distribution in the affected area. The team distributed hygiene kits, bottled water and sack lunches to those who were impacted by the tornado. Pastor Ronnie Forte’ and members of New Hope SDA Church in Champmanboro, Tennessee, provided sack lunches to be distributed in North Nashville.  Mobile Distribution is used to deliver goods into areas that may have been cut off during the disaster or where no other services are being provided.

Pastor James Owens and Pastor Ronnie Forte’ provided grief counseling by praying with the survivors and listening to their experiences caused by the tornado. After experiencing a disaster, stress and grief can be amplified by loss of life, homes and destruction of one’s local community.  Disasters can cause survivors an incredible range of emotions. Our pastors and ACS Disaster Response volunteers understand the most common coping tools are the abilities to listen, talk, pray and support disaster survivors during this time. ACS is grateful for the opportunity our pastors had to uplift, pray and support the community during these powerful moments.

Federation ACS disaster response coordinator, Regina Stevenson, stated “the survivors were so grateful and appreciative for the team bringing the hygiene kits and other items because it made them feel normal and clean. Also, the survivors felt help for them had been slow and they thought they had been forgotten.”  “I could not do what you are doing being positive and having control of your emotions,” another survivor stated to Regina. Although the survivors were thankful for the disaster team assistance, it meant more to Regina because it gave her the opportunity to be on the frontline helping a community that had been displaced by tragedy. When disasters occur and people and their community are hurting, they should always know they are not forgotten and they are loved.

If you would like to help, the best way is to donate MONEY. You can send your monetary donation to South Central Conference office at 715 Youngs Lane, Nashville, TN 37207, and mark your donation “ACS Disaster Nashville.”