Three HC AmeriCorps members deployed for tornado recovery
Harpeth Conservancy is grateful to currently have three AmeriCorps members, who provide mission focused administrative support, volunteer leadership and information sharing in the community. As a collaboration with Hands On Nashville (HON), these three young women are getting hands on experience in water conservation, volunteer engagement and nonprofit administration. Meriweather Bean, Samantha Estes and Haley Tucker are a true asset to Harpeth Conservancy and now to the Davidson Community as well.
Part of the collaboration with Hands On Nashville is the agreement that AmeriCorps members could be deployed in times of crises or disaster. The tornadoes of March 3 qualified as such a disaster. Once the affected areas were deemed safe, HON utilized AmeriCorps members across the city to help with tornado relief, donation organization and distribution.
Here are their experiences in their words:
“Following the devastating tornado that hit Nashville, I was deployed to North Nashville to assist relief efforts and have been working closely with Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church and their leaders Pastor Curtis Bryant and Nataly Barnes. Greater Heights organized the day after the storm hit and have been a source of hope for their neighborhood amidst the tragedy. They quickly arranged hot meal/supply deliveries, efforts to check on those unable to leave their home and transformed their fellowship hall into a hub of supplies to offer individuals in need.”
“If one thing’s become apparent to me throughout the work, it’s the way community can withstand tragedy. In North Nashville in particular, efforts were largely organized by those that live there and are invested in protecting, rebuilding and restoring their beloved community. The sheer amounts of people that have rallied together in these affected areas is the hope amidst the discouragement. The human inclination to lift each other up and be there for one another in times of need is what gets us through. I’ve been so grateful to witness the strength of those at Greater Heights and the good they inspire in their neighborhood. I’m thankful they’ve allowed me to join them in their efforts and want to share the ways we can continue to help as the work is far from over. They are still accepting household/cleaning supply donations and are in need of consistent volunteers to assist them with supply distribution.”
“Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in helping in any way. We’re all in this together.” #nashvillestrong
“My initial role in relief efforts was evaluating the damage in East Nashville to help Hands on Nashville determine the scope of volunteer projects. I spent one day with two police officers in an ATV assessing how many volunteers would be ideal for an area and if any “skilled volunteers” would be needed to assist with tasks such as cutting down trees or tarping someone’s roof. I then transitioned to a role at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School in North Nashville, which is closed for the remainder of the year due to damage from the storm, to help get donations out to local community members. When not unloading and sorting donations, I helped train volunteers or gathered supplies for individuals who came by.”
“For the first days following the tornado, I was stationed at a few different locations before I landed at Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church. I was initially deployed to The Nashville Sounds baseball stadium and McGruder Family Resource Center, where they quickly became a hub for both supply and volunteer distribution. I spent most of my time running trips back and forth to the Community Resource Center for needed supplies and coordinating volunteer locations with HON.”
“It was amazing to see how many people showed up to volunteer and/or donate. I can confidently say there was no shortage of volunteers that week following the tornado; if anything, it was a challenge to effectively deploy them around the city without overcrowding areas. Once I got deployed at Greater Heights on Sunday, I stayed there the remainder of my time in the field. Greater Heights is located on 14th street in North Nashville, right in the middle of some of the worst damage in the city. They had dedicated and established volunteers running an amazing system of supply distribution, clothing donations, hot food deliveries, and more. I was more than honored to be a part of it and encourage everyone who can to continue to donate to that church while they transition into a long-term relief system.”
“Being from New Orleans, I am well-aware of natural disasters but there’s something haunting about a tornado and the damage it causes in such a short period of time. Looking around North Nashville, you will see one house completely destroyed and the neighboring house next-door completely untouched. I remember constantly thinking, “How did they get so lucky?” or more importantly, “How did they get so unlucky?” As mentioned before, I encourage anyone who is able to donate to tornado disaster relief efforts in these crucial next few weeks. There is much more to be done, but I know Nashville will continue to come together.”