Tornado Relief: An Update from Catholic Charities Executive Director Judy Orr
Added Mar 19, 2020

Catholic Charities of Tennessee has received numerous offers of help ever since tornadoes devastated parts of Middle Tennessee on March 3. People want to know how they can donate, volunteer, and generally help us help our community recover from the weather disaster. Of course, we are now also working to help the increased number of people in need due to economic hardship brought on by coronavirus-related issues.

Thank you for your prayers of support, your volunteer spirit, and your generous donations. As of today, we have received more than $200,000 in donations. We are humbled that many donors are from out of state, and yet Tennesseans have, of course, been very generous, too. We greatly appreciate receiving all of these much-needed funds.

Catholic Charities of Tennessee will direct these donations toward emergency assistance and recovery efforts through our two main lines of service: case management and counseling.

Case management – a dedicated team is working directly with survivors to assist with urgent, immediate problems for clients, such as eviction prevention, temporary housing, household goods, food, even diapers for babies. (See chart below for more info.) Case managers may refer clients to additional Catholic Charities services, but they will also refer clients to other community/government agencies, as needed or when appropriate.

Counseling – our team of counseling professionals is currently focused on preventing long-term emotional problems that can be caused by traumatic events, such as the tornado or sudden, mass unemployment caused by the threat of coronavirus. Our experience helping survivors after the 2010 flood in Nashville taught us that it can take 18 months or longer for many people impacted by these disasters to recover emotionally. All Catholic Charities counselors are professionals licensed by the state and are experts at helping clients address issues of stress, anxiety, depression, chemical dependency, and much more.

The following chart summarizes the short- and long-term services Catholic Charities is currently or will soon be providing to help survivors recover. This is how your donations may be used:

In addition to our direct services, Catholic Charities is an active member of the area-wide Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) group, which is coordinating the recovery activities of many nonprofit organizations in Nashville, as well as the Management Agency Housing Taskforce. Catholic Charities either provides services directly, and/or refers people in need to other resources when specific situations require.

Locations for services

• McGruder Family Resource Center (North Nashville: 2013 25th Avenue North, Nashville, 37208)
• Catholic Pastoral Center (Donelson: 2806 McGavock Pike, Door #7, Nashville, 37214)
• Online counseling is available

Catholic Charities also hopes, from time to time, to staff a mobile unit and visit various neighborhood locations. More details will follow in the coming days as needs and locations become identified.

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