After the Twister


David Beito describes the post-tornado relief efforts in his part of Alabama, where churches and local radio stations have played key roles in a spontaneous, decentralized process:

The outpouring of volunteers and donations is not only inspiring and effective but extremely decentralized. The two local talk radio stations (joined by a few other stations) are on the air from 8:00 to 8:00 to serve as an informal clearing house for relief efforts. The station which started this effort has only three employees (who were normally not on air) and it has preempted the normal programming.

Typically, someone calls in to the host and express a need for a particular area or group. Ten minutes later they call back to say ten people showed up on their doorstep. Those coordinating relief often specify that they are short on particular goods and have too many of others thus allowing givers to tailor the donations. The broadcasts has informed me of several opportunities to be of help. You can listen in, and look at the talk radio facebook, here.

Although most of the relief effort starts with individuals who weigh in on their own, churches are playing a key role in coordinating it.