On June 1, devastating tornadoes ripped through Central and Western Mass. Weeks later, local communities are still struggling to put the pieces back together. Residents in these areas need your help. Whether you have a few minutes to donate online, or are able to put in a day’s worth of volunteer work, you can make a difference in the lives of those impacted by the storms.
How can I help?
Clean up. The United Way is working with the city of Springfield coordinating volunteers to provide labor and assistance in the cleanup of debris, boarding of houses and various other tasks. Call the United Way at (413) -737-2691 if interested.
Find housing. The City of Springfield has condemned 514 housing units as a result of last week's tornadoes. The Springfield Housing Department reports an immediate and urgent need for apartments in and around the Springfield area. If you have information about potential housing units, please contact Lizzie Malave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help at a shelter. ESE's Moses Building has been cleared out and activated as the Town of West Springfield shelter for residents who have lost their homes to the tornado. To volunteer, please call 718-938-6980; to make a donation or offer housing for displaced residents, please call 718-938-6982.
Hold a food drive. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts needs people to conduct food drives, collecting ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods. All food donations will benefit the community shelters and other emergency feeding agencies in the hardest hit areas of Hampden County.
Donate. Many victims of the storms have been left with nothing. Agencies like Springfield Partners Inc. are collecting water, personal care items, and non-perishable food, as well as monetary donations. TIP: Call ahead before heading out to make sure that location is still accepting donations. And, avoid scams: check the Better Business Bureau charity guide before donating. Check the Online Resources section of this page for links to charities and donation information.
Resources for Storm Victims
AARP Walgreens Wellness Tour – June 30 to July 3
The AARP Walgreens Wellness Tour is coming to Springfield June 30 – July 3. Trained staff will administer six free health tests valued at over $100, including:
- Total Cholesterol Levels
- Blood Pressure
- Bone Density
- Glucose Levels
- Waist Circumference, Body Composition/Body Mass Index
Tests are available to adults age 18 and older, and take between 20 and 25 minutes. Visitors will also have access to free educational information on a variety of health and wellness issues, available in both English and Spanish. Free one-year AARP memberships will also be given to all adults who receive tests.
AARP will also be accepting food donations at each AARP Walgreens Wellness Tour stop in Springfield to benefit Open Pantry.
Storm Assistance Centers
Three Storm Assistance Centers are located in Springfield, Monson/Palmer and Southbridge. Representatives from state agencies are on site in all three communities to help area residents meet their immediate health, human service, housing and employment needs.
- Springfield: Department of Transitional Assistance, 95 Liberty Street, Springfield, 413-858-1000
- Monson/Palmer: Department of Developmental Service Central/West Regional Office, 171 State Avenue, Palmer, 413-283-3411 or 1-800-323-3123
- Southbridge: Department of Transitional Assistance, 1 North Street, Southbridge, 508-765-2400
The Massachusetts state government has an official storm recovery page.
Masslive.com updates its tornado resource page daily and includes volunteer opportunities and donation requests.
The City of Springfield posts storm recovery updates on its official website.
Facebook fans – visit Monson Tornado Watch 2011, the community page for Monson recovery efforts.
FEMA is now using Twitter and other social media sites to quickly post disaster alerts and updates. Follow them at twitter.com/fema or like FEMA’s Facebook page. If you’re not a fan of social media, you can have updates emailed directly to your inbox.
The Ready Campaign helps Americans prepare for emergencies. Follow them on Twitter.