I rarely use this space in this way, but one of the devastating tornados that touched down yesterday in Virginia hit far too close to home.
Appomattox may be a familiar name to you, even if you're not sure why. It was there, 151 years ago, that the Confederate's General Lee conceded to the Union's General Grant, ending the Civil War. These days, Appomattox is a sleepy town in south-central Virginia, but it's filled with wonderful people who currently need all the help they can get to rebuild a large part of their community.
Last night we had a devastating line of storms come through Virginia that had tornado sirens blaring and people taking shelter in basements all across the state. The community of Evergreen, just a few miles south of Appomattox proper, had one resident killed and over 100 buildings damaged or completely destroyed.
These photos by the local paper, The News & Advance, are heartbreaking.
The location of the touchdown was only twenty miles from my parents' home, who were taking shelter in the basement with my kitty while so many nearby lost everything they owned. I keep imagining what it would be like to find out the home I grew up in had been torn apart by a tornado...such an unlikely thing for Virginia in the first place.
I'm very familiar with the area struck by this tornado and cannot imagine what it will be like to drive through here the next time I go to my parents' house.
If you would like to help this community recover from the immense damage done by this terrifying force of nature, I've collected several links below to state and local organizations who are stepping in to help:
- Gleaning for the World is a nonprofit based just 13 miles from the Evergreen area. They are already on the ground there providing disaster relief in the forms of food, water, and personal care items.
- American Red Cross of Virginia is on location in Appomattox providing emergency shelter and other forms of relief.
- God's Pit Crew of Danville is sending their Crisis Response Team to Appomattox to help in any way possible. Contact them if you would like to assist them in person.
- Animal Emergency & Critical Care of Lynchburg is donating free time and services for all animals affected by the tornado in Evergreen.
Three people were also killed when another tornado touched down in the community of Waverly, Virginia, a town just 23 miles southeast of Petersburg. The Red Cross is also providing relief for this community.