“unto the least of these”

In the aftermath of last weeks tornados, and as search and rescue efforts are now shifting towards relief efforts, I wanted to share some ways you can help your fellow Alabamians.  I haven’t talked to anyone this week who wasn’t affected in some way by the tornados that ripped through our beloved state. MANY many people were without power for several days (myself included) and some are still without power.  Others have lost their homes entirely.  I can’t even begin to describe the losses that so many people are enduring right now.  Where do you begin picking up the pieces of your life when everything you have besides the clothes on your back are destroyed?  I can’t even comprehend it.  I find myself feeling guilty for just going about my every day life, doing normal things, as though nothing ever happened.  It just feels wrong.  I feel so blessed to have been spared the hardships that so many are facing right now. 

I believe God does everything for a reason. Maybe His lesson for me in all this is to appreciate what He has blessed me with (my family, my home, my friends…even the simplest things like food, water, and electricity).  There are people right here in our home state that have lost family, lost their homes, have limited food and water.  Because I have been blessed, I feel the need to give back.  I’ve been so caught up in work this past week that I haven’t really had a chance to act.  So, while I’m sitting here at work tonight, I decided to do a little research online to see what the greatest needs are right now in our state and what we can do to help.  Here’s what I found:

This website, Alabama Possible, has the most comprehensive list of up-to-date information on volunteer opportunities and donations for the state of Alabama. There are a lot of opportunities specific to various needs and cities. I’ve pulled some key organizations our to highlight for ya!

If you want to make monetary donations to help, you can do so here:

  • American Red Cross (online)  or by phone: Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. It will be charged to your next phone bill. (After you send the text, you will first receive a confirmation reply, then another message will ask if you want to specify your donation for Disaster Relief).  *I did this option, so I know this one works!*
  • Governor Robert Bentley’s Tornado Relief Fund
  • United Way Tornado Fund –  you can follow the link to donate online, or you can text TORNADO to 50555 to donate $10. 

If you have items you would like to donate, here are some local areas (around Birmingham) which are accepting donations:

  • Church of the Highlands
  • Walmart (in Homewood, Hoover, Pelham)
  • Urban Standard (downtown B’ham- 2nd Ave North)
  • Dawson Memorial Baptist Church (Homewood)
  • Prince of Peace Catholic Church (Hoover)
  • Academy Sports (Hoover)
  • Canterbury United Methodist Church (Mountain Brook)
  • YMCA (Pelham)
  • Mark’s Outdoors (Vestavia)

Some items most needed:  UPDATE: My youngest sister updated me today saying she has heard on the news that most areas have been supplied with enough clothes and water.  The greater need now is toiletry items- like tampons, deodorant– and clothing items like underwear and socks. Thanks for the update, Em! 🙂

  • canned food (and can openers!)
  • bottled water
  • toilet paper
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • soap
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • deodorant
  • diapers
  • baby food
  • juice boxes
  • hand sanitizer
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • band-aids

Let’s do our part and help our neighbors.  Christ not only teaches us to share the gospel, but he teaches us to love one another.  We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. I want to leave you with this passage from Matthew.  This is God’s teaching…

 -Matthew 25:31-46
     When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
     Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 
    Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
     The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
     Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
     He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
     Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”