Tornado Response 2020

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Tornado Relief Volunteer Opportunities | December 2020

Our Tornado Recovery Connection case managers continue to work with survivors of the March tornadoes. As they hear about needs volunteers can assist with now and into the new year, they hand them over to partner organization, Hands On Nashville, to coordinate.

Currently, volunteers are being sought for the following important opportunities:

General Labor for Local Tornado Survivors

Meet With Local Tornado Survivors

The Annual Conference Offering for 2020 is Tornado Recovery

GIVE TO TN TORNADO 2020 (Tennessee Conference Disaster Response – Credit Card or PayPal)

  • Checks may be sent to: TNUMC Disaster Response, 304 S. Perimeter Park Drive, Suite 1, Nashville, TN 37211


You also may GIVE THROUGH UMCOR (for US Disaster Response & Recovery, Advance #901670)

VOLUNTEER Tornado Disaster Response Volunteer Form Please fill out the form and you will be contacted as appropriate projects for you are available.


Tornado Recovery Connection
Those experiencing an unmet need as a result of the March 3 tornado are encouraged to call the Tornado Recovery Connection at 615-270-9255. The helpline will be open 24/7, and unanswered calls will be returned within 24 hours. Translation services are available for non-English-speaking residents.

New Resource Available for Tennessee Tornado Survivors

FEMA + SBA Deadlines – Deadlines have now passed
Any Middle Tennessean who suffered damage from the March 3 tornadoes must register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to qualify for financial recovery assistance. Register with FEMA: | Apply for SBA Disaster Loan

Tornado Recovery Connection Survey
The survey linked below is to collect a current and comprehensive list of community resources for outreach, screening, casework and case managers assisting tornado survivors. If you have multiple locations, please complete a survey for each location with the services that location provides.


December 2020 Update | Tornado Relief Volunteer Opportunities

Our Tornado Recovery Connection case managers continue to work with survivors of the March tornadoes. As they hear about needs volunteers can assist with now and into the new year, they hand them over to partner organization, Hands On Nashville, to coordinate.

Currently, volunteers are being sought for the following important opportunities:

General Labor for Local Tornado Survivors

Meet With Local Tornado Survivors

March 30, 2020 Update

COVID-19 Response from churches with UMCOR Cleaning Kits | N95 Mask Request

March 26, 2020 Update

New direct number for TNUMC Disaster Response: 615-270-9255 

As is the practice of the United Methodist Church Disaster Response through UMCOR, the TN Conference will be deeply involved in relief and recovery efforts until the work is completed. The church will be engaged until all survivors are restored to pre-disaster wholeness in material, emotional, and spiritual areas.

Due to the possible COVID-19 spread, most volunteer efforts have been paused.

Exception; this Friday (3/27) and Saturday (3 /28) Putnam County is planning a widespread debris collection effort. This includes employing small teams of volunteers to clear debris by hand. The county volunteer leadership would like up to 200 volunteers in small groups. Volunteer liability waivers and more information are available on the TN Conference volunteer portal. (Fill out volunteer form above)

When other safe and organized opportunities for volunteers are available, they will be communicated on the portal and through Conference News.

Due to the current gathering restrictions, Disaster Recovery Centers have been closed and FEMA personnel have returned to their homes. The registration process is still available online through May 4, 2020, at

In addition to continued debris removal coordination, the Tennessee Conference Disaster Response leadership team is currently working to formulate the long-term response efforts to assist all areas impacted by the tornadoes of March 2020. These efforts include offering training for several county long-term recovery groups. The Conference will also make case management, volunteer rebuild, and material resources available to community partners in the long-term recovery of the affected communities.

Currently, our work has resulted in over 2000 individual volunteer hours and more than 500 hours of equipment operation in the debris removal and relief efforts.

March 20, 2020 Update

Thank you for volunteering!

Some of the recovery areas where we will send workgroups are not yet safe for volunteer teams. In addition, we now have COVID-19 restrictions with which to comply. When the environment is safer, we will communicate with those who have volunteered and put them to work in disaster ministry in safe and effective ways.

Your patience is appreciated. If you register to volunteer, we WILL call on you to help as soon as we are able to do so.

March 12, 2020 Update

Disaster Assitance Centers
Were you impacted by the tornado? Come to a Disaster Assistance Center to access support from multiple agencies at once.

7 days a week: 9 AM to 6 PM

Hadley Park Community Center
Hermitage Community Center
East Park Community Center

Departments represented:
Metro Codes, Metro Social Services, Humane Association, FEMA registration intake, Public Health, Red Cross, Financial Empowerment Center, TN Dept. of LAbor, Metro Action Commission., TN Dept. of Human Services

March 9, 2020 Update

Comfort and Hope on Sunday after Tornado

March 5, 2020 Update

“The outpouring of support for our community and affected church families has been incredible! We are so appreciative,” said Robert Craig, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Nashville Episcopal Area.

Craig is assessing damage this week to determine what projects can be tackled now and in the coming weeks. Ken Hunter, the Caney Fork River District’s disaster relief coordinator, quickly mobilized Early Response Teams (ERT) from St. Marks, Murfreesboro First, and Cookeville UMCs to get much-needed equipment to affected sites in Putnam County.

The overnight tornado that hit Tennessee earlier this week left significant damage within several TNUMC districts. United Methodist churches whose buildings were the hardest hit are Dodson Chapel UMC, Braden Memorial UMC, and East End UMC. All have insurance policies to cover the physical damage.

But, it is the pastors and congregations – and the communities they serve – who are the primary focus for UMCOR-trained teams.  “We are creating a list of needs that we will continue to update,” said Craig. “Recovery from a disaster like this will take a long time. We definitely will have a place for willing volunteers to help.” He added that he was particularly struck by the generosity of congregation members in the hardest-hit areas. “Members of churches – where the walls of the church building are barely standing – were out on the streets, finding neighbors and making sure that they had food to eat today.”

Shipments of hygiene kits and tornado buckets already are on the way to our area from the UMCOR Warehouse. We will need to replenish these supplies at a later date. If your church wants to put kits together – and has a place to store themHygiene Kits and Tornado Buckets will be needed in the weeks ahead.

Teams and individuals who would like to volunteer can let us know by completing the Tennessee Tornado Disaster Response Volunteers form. A pastor at one of our churches set up this database so volunteers can be matched with appropriate projects.

When sites are secure, trained ERTs will be invited into the affected areas by Robert Craig. Several have already offered support. Volunteers without UMCOR Emergency Response training will then be assigned to on-site work projects.

In the meantime, continued prayer, financial donations and food for first responders are appreciated. We celebrate the connections several churches have already made with one another to help feed search and rescue personnel as well as neighbors working to clear away debris around their own homes and businesses.

“As we move through the wilderness this tornado has left in its path, we are reminded that God surrounds us with a cloud of witnesses,” said Melinda Britt, TNUMC Director of Connectional Ministries. “The witness of the local congregations surrounding the community with the love of Christ is an amazing, faithful response to this disaster.”

Tornado Update on Bishop McAlilly’s Blog

– UMNews Article: Retired pastor’s home lost to tornado

– WKRN News 2: East Nashville family says church saved their lives in tornado


March 3, 2020

We are grateful for your prayers and financial assistance for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been directly affected by the tornados in our area.

Several of our communities and churches were significantly damaged in both the Cumberland River District and the Red River District. We also are getting reports of damage in the Caney Fork River District.

Our Disaster Response team is working with clergy, district superintendents and our bishop to assess damages. So far, we know that we have churches that are severely damaged. Below are photos from Dodson Chapel UMC, Braden Memorial UMC, and East End UMC. We are awaiting reports on congregation members as well as from other churches that may have been affected.

The Tennessee Conference appreciates your financial assistance in responding to this disaster. You may make tax-deductible contributions that will go directly to our disaster response efforts.


Tornado Bucket Supplies

Please allow first responders to do their jobs today. We will let you know how you can volunteer assistance as we know more. Our Disaster Response Coordinator, Robert Craig, is assessing how our churches will need help and what types of supplies may be needed.

Bishop McAlilly’s Blog Post about the Tornado Response

– UMCOR Provides Financial Assistance and additional link for Giving

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has awarded a solidarity grant to the Tennessee Annual Conference in response to last night’s tornadoes to support initial relief efforts.

Join UMCOR in supporting our neighbors in Tennessee. Please give to United States Disaster Response and Recovery through Advance #901670:

– UMNews Article: Tennessee Tornadoes