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Tennessee Floods: Getting and Giving Help

Thousands of Tennesseans are trying to recover from devastating storms and floods that killed at least 22 people, destroyed or damaged an untold number of homes, businesses, vehicles and roads. The water has receded, but it’s going to be a long time before folks will recover fully from this disaster.

We know that many of you are looking for ways to help, whether it's by donating money or grabbing some gloves and a shovel. We sure could use you.

Giving Help

Volunteer Tennessee, working with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), has activated the Tennessee Emergency Donations Hotline to accept contributions and support flood victims throughout the state. The toll free number is (866) 586-4483, and the hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT daily. Or you could visit www.tnema.org and click the “Donations to Disaster Victims” link to give online.

You also could text “RESTORE” to UNITED (864833) to give $10 to United Way to help flood victims, or contribute $10 for flood victims to the Red Cross by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999.

If you want to physically help out, sign up to volunteer in Middle Tennessee at Hands On Nashville, and in West Tennessee at Volunteer Mid-South.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know needs help, advice or resources, there’s a lot available but you need to know where to find it.

The most important thing to do is register with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and apply for federal aid at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 (1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired).

If you need help with clean up and recovery, call the United Way at 211. The United Way is working with other relief agencies and volunteer organizations to match volunteers with people who need assistance.

The United Way has lists of available resources broken down by region and county on its website.

If you need help recovering lost documents like a Medicare card or making sure that your Social Security payments continue, or if you have questions about insurance claims, rent payments and the like, call a toll-free legal assistance hotline (888) 395-9297 or go to the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services website. 

If you're looking for cleaning and repair tips, print off this guide from the National Center for Healthy Housing.

To make sure that you're choosing the right contractor to make repairs and avoid scams, print this tip sheet from Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper.

Gov. Phil Bredesen has a very helpful web page with resources for flood victims, including information about filing insurance claims, tax relief, prescription assistance, clean-up tips, etc.

Also, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is posting good and timely information on its website and on a special Facebook page.

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