Yesterday the Dallas area was hit with a nasty string of thunderstorms that spawned dozens of tornadoes. Thankfully, our neighborhood was spared and we only had a good rain. Many others were not so lucky. One tornado struck in the town of Forney, which is about 30 minutes east of us. With the tornadoes so close to home, I knew we had to help for one of our projects.
A friend posted on Facebook that a church in Forney was collecting donations. I called the church, and they told me their most urgent needs were individually packaged food for the relief workers, cleaning supplies for cleaning out people’s homes, and toddler boys’ clothes. With money from myself and my friend Shelley, I went to Target and bought a trunkload of the needed items, including bottled water, granola bars, chips, peanut butter crackers, nuts, paper towels, etc. Another friend, Emily, gave me two giant garbage bags full of toddler boy clothes to donate.
This evening, Abby and I drove out to Forney (which she seemed to think was a whole other country away but is really not very far). We dropped off our items at the church first. There were tons of youth and adults accepting donations and a good 7-8 cars unloading donations when we got there. Here’s Abby with the one bag that was small enough for her to carry…
After dropping off our donations, I took Abby to the other side of the highway where the tornado struck. It was really important for me to show her what happened so she would understand (a) that tornadoes are not as cool as she thinks they are from watching The Wizard of Oz over and over again; (b) we do NOT want one to hit our house and (c) why it was worth driving all the way out there to drop off the donations.
What we saw moved me, and I know it is something I will never forget. Abby and I parked in the next neighborhood over and walked up and down three of the streets that were hardest hit. I have never seen anything like it. Many houses were completely gone, and it is an absolute miracle that no one was killed. Everyone in those houses must surely have been at work or at school when the tornado hit. Here are some pictures of what we saw…
(The two pictures above show where houses once stood that are now completely gone.)
(I think the car flipped on its side blew Abby away more than anything else we saw.)
The area was full of news media (we were actually interviewed for Channel 8 – so watch for us tonight!) and there were tons of people walking around surveying the damage. We ran into one father and son who had little dogs with them. They said they were from the next neighborhood over and wanted to help search for missing pets.
This experienced moved me beyond words (all evidence to the contrary, I suppose – ha!). I am so thankful I saw the Facebook post about donating, and I am thankful I got to share in the experience of donating to this cause with Abby. For anyone who lives in the D/FW area, please look into donating to one of the tornado ravaged areas. I know Lancaster also has donation centers set up, and Arlington probably does, too. If you’re not in the area, the Red Cross is always a great way to help those affected by natural disasters.