How You Can Help the Tennessee Tornado Victims

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In the early morning hours of March 3, a severe storm system moved across Tennessee, spawning multiple tornadoes and leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Fatalities were reported in Putnam, Davidson, Wilson and Benton counties, and hundreds were injured as the tornadoes tore across the central region of the state, flattening houses, schools and businesses and leaving more than 50,000 households without power.

But even in the worst of circumstances, Tennesseans have stepped up to show their true spirit in the aftermath of this devastating storm. Communities are coming together to help those affected by providing food, shelter, clothing, supplies, volunteers and monetary donations. Below, you’ll find just a few of the ways you can join the relief efforts to help rebuild and provide support to those who need it most at this difficult time.

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

You can make a monetary donation on the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s website. Their Emergency Response Fund supports local nonprofits that deliver vital services to meet immediate and long-term needs in the Middle Tennessee area when disasters strike.

Hands On Nashville

Hands On Nashville (HON) is a nonprofit that works to connect volunteers to opportunities within the Nashville community. Visit to view volunteer opportunities and sign up to help.

The Community Resource Center

If you’d like to donate items, The Community Resource Center is accepting all goods except clothing. The most needed items include personal hygiene items, bleach, trash bags, gloves and box cutters. Visit to learn more.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is working to assist residents and other relief organizations in the community by providing food to those impacted by the storm. Every $1 donated provides four meals to families in need, and donations can be made online here.

Second Harvest is also accepting food donations. The most essential items include pop-top canned meats, vegetables and fruit; ready-to-eat soups and stews; peanut butter and crackers; cereal; and breakfast/energy bars. You can drop food donations off at any Kroger location (look for the Second Harvest donation barrels) or at Second Harvest’s Nashville Distribution Center (331 Great Circle Road, Nashville, TN 37228). Learn more at

Tornado Relief Fund for Service Industry Workers

Following the tornadoes, several members of the Nashville food and beverage hospitality community lost lives, homes, jobs and health. The Nashville Bartenders Guild started a GoFundMe page to raise money for food and beverage service industry professionals to help with home damage costs, medical bills and funeral costs for those who lost loved ones in the storm.

American Red Cross Tennessee

The American Red Cross Tennessee is currently in need of trained Red Cross volunteers. You can apply to become a volunteer here. The organization is also accepting monetary donations online here, as well as blood donations. To find a blood drive near you, visit

Direct Relief

This organization works to provide medical aid to those affected by emergencies in all 50 states and in 80 countries. Visit to learn more, make a donation or find out how to volunteer.


Putnam County was one of the hardest-hit areas in Tennessee. If you’re looking for ways to help in the Cookeville area, email

Blood donations are also especially helpful at this time. If you’re able to donate blood, visit Blood Assurance at 155 Broad Street in Cookeville.

If you’re in need of help:

  • The Putnam County Health Department is open and receiving patients for non-emergency treatment.
  • Emergency shelters are open at both the Cookeville Community Center, National Guard Armory and the YMCA. Also: Sovereign Grace Church, Stevens Street Baptist Church, Jefferson Ave Church of Christ, Double Springs Church of Christ and the Red Cross Shelter is at First Baptist Church.
  • Beginning Thursday, March 5 and continuing Friday, March 6, Cane Creek Elementary School, Baxter Primary School, Cornerstone Elementary School, Upperman Middle School and Upperman High School will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for children of families directly impacted by the storms. Bus transportation will be provided from designated shelters to these school sites.

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