BAKERSFIELD, CA — CityServe’s disaster-relief operations is mobilizing its national church-based network to render aid and support for those hit by the devastating tornadoes that struck Tennessee on Saturday. The first semi-truck filled with emergency supplies such as water, clothes, toiletries, and medical supplies will be leaving for Clarksville Tuesday morning from CityServe Oklahoma’s distribution warehouse in Tulsa.
“We’re emphasizing a rapid response right now because overnight temperatures in central Tennessee are below freezing,” said Terry Henshaw, Executive Director of CityServe Oklahoma who is coordinating this relief effort. “Our local church partners are telling us the damage is just horrific.”
Henshaw says the first step in CityServe’s relief response will be damage assessment and prioritizing people’s needs.
CityServe is partnering with YAIPak Outreach and LifePoint Church in Clarksville for the receiving, sorting, and distribution of emergency supplies to anyone in need.
At least 13 tornadoes touched down over the weekend, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. An EF-3 twister battered Clarksville with winds of over 150 mph, and an EF-2 tornado slammed the Nashville area with winds estimated at over 125 mph.
“There are no words,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts told CNN after he spent Sunday surveying the damage. “There’s not an adjective in the dictionary that would describe what we saw.”
Emergency management leaders say hundreds of homes and businesses have been decimated, with over 35,000 residents reporting power outages. Utility crews have already restored power to some neighborhoods, but some residents have been told it could take weeks to get their power restored due to substation damage. More than 50 injuries and 6 fatalities have been reported so far.
Nearly 100 homes and businesses in Clarksville were destroyed, and another 271 are currently uninhabitable due to major damage. Hendersonville and the Nashville suburb of Madison were ravaged as well. Multiple school systems have been closed.
In past weather-related disasters, CityServe has mobilized local churches to distribute food boxes, clothes, furniture, and other good-in-kind.
Its recent major relief operations included loading a Boeing 747 cargo jet with 33 tons of relief supplies for those in neighborhoods that were devastated by the firestorms in Maui.
By relying on local churches as distribution points, CityServe is able to reach “the last mile of need” in neighborhoods that might otherwise find themselves underserved.
CityServe International is a collaborative network of churches and community leaders who help those in need live better lives. CityServe empowers the local church to fulfill its purpose to overcome despair and transform lives by resourcing them with tangible goods and capacity building. CityServe brings the church to the table to address community challenges by offering long-lasting relationships that lead to transformation and has been designated a “Community of Faith and Opportunity” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Source: JDA Worldwide, Cityserve Steps In To Aid Tennessee Tornado Victims