On December 10-11, a line of severe storms and tornadoes swept across the country and resulted in fatalities, damaged structures and residences in more than six states. This page offers resources for those recovering and will be updated regularly.
To sign up as a Disaster Volunteer Leader with Hands On Nashville, click here.
Give In times of disaster, financial donations are the best way to aid those in need. Cash can be used immediately in response to a crisis, and allows disaster relief organizations to purchase exactly what is needed, when it’s needed. Cash gives relief organizations the means to procure supplies near the affected area, which cuts down on transportation time and cost. Monetary contributions also support local economies and ensure that businesses can operate when relief supplies diminish.
American Red Cross The American Red Cross continues to serve those affected by the recent severe weather. Emergency assistance is available to individuals whose homes were destroyed or majorly impacted. For more information, please contact the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Crisis Cleanup A Crisis Cleanup service is in place for Tennesseans who need help with debris removal and home cleanup from the recent severe weather. All services are free, but service is not guaranteed due to the expected overwhelming need. Individuals needing assistance should call the hotline at 1-800-451-1954.
Tennessee Statewide Crisis Phone Line Call 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471) to speak with a caring, trained mental health professional, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, if you are experiencing a mental health emergency. You can also text TN to 741741.
Rx Open Rx Open provides information on the operating status of healthcare facilities in areas impacted by a disaster. Visit their website at rxopen.org.
By Sophia Bobrowsky, AmeriCorps Volunteer Project Leader with Hands On Nashville
Once recovery began following the March 2021 flooding, Hands On Nashville and our disaster partners set a goal — rebuilding 30 homes within a year of the flood. On Nov. 5, we celebrated another milestone toward that goal by completing our latest home rebuild, just in time for the holidays!
Walking up to the Inspiritus construction site for the last time, I was greeted by Robert Zavala, the contractor who has overseen the home construction for the past three months. He’s contracted through Inspiritus, a nonprofit that offers disaster relief and long-term recovery solutions to people in need.
I stood in the kitchen of the newly remodeled home in awe as NCCC members steadily cleaned around me. A dozen or so members were busy wiping dust from the trim, and putting the final screws in kitchen cabinets.
Robert chuckled at my excitement, and was quick to credit all the volunteers for their hard work.
“NCCC is absolutely wonderful, I love them to death,” Robert said. “They come with a big crew and get everything knocked out very fast. It’s nice to have a crew you can train, and that works together for a longer period of time.”
Robert explained NCCC didn’t come with formal training, but like volunteers who sign up for Inspiritus projects, they’re excited to learn, and always give 100 percent. Together, volunteer teams rebuilt this home from the ground up — the walls were gutted, the flooring torn out, and the HVAC system had to be completely cleaned and repaired.
Of the projects, the flooring took the longest, Robert said. From ripping up the flooring to repairing the subfloor and then laying new tile — it’s a tedious process that takes time to be done right.
Robert is the only Inspiritus construction manager in Tennessee, and he assists in matching volunteers with projects that are safe , sources and purchases materials for home repairs, and trains the volunteers completing the work.
Following my talk with Robert, I continued to explore the house and see what my fellow AmeriCorps members were working on. I spoke with Marisa Switzman, a Team Lead with Americorps NCCC.
NCCC is different than the traditional Americorps program I am currently participating in, as this cohort travels the country for 10 months, spending no more than a few weeks in each city they visit. NCCC members meet community needs in the areas of energy conservation, infrastructure improvement, natural and other disaster services, and urban and rural development.
Marisa said she said she really enjoys the hands-on experience of NCCC, and learning so many different life and teambuilding skills.
“It’s been super rewarding to give back to the community and to specific people like this homeowner,” Marisa said. “That’s why we joined NCCC because it’s all about that:, giving back. The most challenging part is making mistakes — but that’s part of the learning process, and Robert has shown us mistakes are really easy to fix.”
Zach King, also an NCCC member, was serving alongside Marisa, and agreed about the construction skills. This is the first construction project he’s attempted during his term, and said so far each site has presented a different set of challenges.
“In terms of the whole year — Mammoth Cave was the most physically demanding, but NOLA was emotionally demanding,” Zach said.
His cohort spent the first month of their term rebuilding hiking trails at Mammoth Cave, Ky., and the following few weeks offering relief to survivors of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans. For the next few weeks Zach and his team will stay in Davidson County continuing to support disaster relief efforts in South Nashville.
“So far my term has been super good — in NOLA everyone was super thankful, and the people were very vocal about that. In Mammoth [Cave] our work was lasting as the trails will be used by hikers for a while. However, here it’s massive for this homeowner to have a house to get into by Thanksgiving,” Zach said. “That’s incredible, and a really cool goal to have someone in their house by the holidays.”
We are extremely gratefulto VOAD and CFMT for providing the funding to HON and our partnering organizations to assist in flood-relief efforts. To read more about their impact, click here.
NCCC is a federally-funded program that Hands On Nashville applied for and was granted following the March flooding. For more information about NCCC, click here. To volunteer for a disaster relief project, click here.
Last Saturday we said there was a need and volunteers showed up. Because of you, many residents in South Nashville are a step closer to recovering from recent flooding that devastated so many neighborhoods. Thank you!
On April 3, 350 volunteers cleaned up at around 90 houses. They hauled supplies with their pickup trucks and helped other volunteers find parking and get checked in. They translated languages to help keep the communication flowing. They also handed out more than 400 boxes of food, 420 flood buckets, and 100 hygiene kits to families in need.
And thank you to the many partners that helped put the day of service together: the Nashville Office of Emergency Management, American Red Cross, Conexión Américas, WeGo, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Community Resource Center, Nashville Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Metro Parks and Recreation, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.
There’s still LOTS more work to be done in South Nashville, and we need your help. Find a project here:
WOW. That’s about all we can say about the mass vaccination event on March 20. Hundreds of volunteers — including many medical professionals — helped vaccinate thousands at Nissan Stadium, Lee Chapel AME, and Music City Center on Saturday. It was an emotional day, but many volunteers said they would do it again in a heartbeat. In total, 11,689 people were vaccinated with the help of volunteers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
2020 was a year marked by immense challenges, but also by so many stories of people stepping up and coming together to support their neighbors. Volunteers played a huge part in helping Nashville get through a tough year. We’re honored to share Hands On Nashville’s 2020 Impact Report, which shows the strong and inspiring impact of volunteerism.
If you’d like to receive a PDF copy of this impact report, fill out the form below!
Nashville is a community steeped in Black history and shaped by Black voices and culture. Every year, Black History Month puts a spotlight on the transformative but often painful history of Black Americans, and how, despite systemic injustice and roadblocks, they have contributed so much to American culture and achievement.
Nashvillians are fortunate to have many ways to learn more about Black history, music, and organizations all year long, not just in February. Here’s a roundup of some tours, events, and initiatives that strive to strengthen our community’s understanding of Black history and commitment to racial equity.
Please note that COVID-19 may result in changes to or cancellations of events listed here. Please check with the individual agencies and organizations ahead of time for scheduling updates! And check out even more events and activities here. Know of a great event or activity we’re missing? Leave it in the comments!
• National Museum of African-American Music: This beautiful new museum just opened and is accepting visitors. NMAAM is the first museum to tell a comprehensive story about the impact African Americans have made on American culture through music. Bonus, NMAAM recently joined HON as a community partner, and we’re looking forward to all the ways volunteers will be able to support the museum!
CLICK HERE to learn more about how to visit the museum, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays this month.
• Tour civil rights sit-in locations:This 1.2-hour, 1-mile walking tour takes participants to notable locations in the sit-in movement in which demonstrators peacefully occupied a location to challenge segregation and discrimination. Rep. John Lewis, who died in 2020, famously led a series of sit-ins in Nashville.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the walking tour (and its virtual version).
• Learn about the Black experience: Billed as “A virtual Black history experience for disrupters,” this live, interactive event hosted by antiracism activist and founder of United Street Tours Chakita Sharnise promises to show Nashville as you’ve never seen it.
CLICK HERE to register for the Feb. 1 event (select the “virtual experiences” tab) at 6 p.m., which will also be recorded and made available to view for 48 hours after the event.
• Tour sites important to early Black life and culture:This 1.5-hour, 1.2-mile walking tour uncovers the buried history of early Black life and culture in Nashville by exploring the lives and work of free and enslaved African Americans.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the walking tour (and its virtual version).
• Learn about historic Black communities in Tennessee: This Feb. 4 online panel discussion hosted by the Tennessee State Museum will take a look at how historic Black communities including Orange Mound and Free Hill were created, their evolution, and the broader cultural impact.
CLICK HERE to sign up for the event via Facebook. The Tennessee State Museum has additional Black History Month events scheduled this month. Check them all out here.
• Support Black-led nonprofits via CFMT’s Give Black, Give Back initiative: In 2020, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee launched Give Black, Give Back as a way to support and strengthen equity in Middle Tennessee.
• Volunteer with the Equity Alliance:The Equity Alliance is a grassroots local organization that advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunities at realizing the American dream. TEA strives to equip citizens with tools and strategies to engage in the civic process and empower them to take action on issues affecting their daily lives.