Yet short-term needs still persist.
It is important to remember during the 12 hours of terror that struck April 27, some 285 Bradley County homes were destroyed and hundreds more were mildly to severely damaged. In an alarming number of cases, families were displaced from their homes — awaiting repairs or total rebuilds.
This is why short-term needs will continue for some time while Bradley County steadies its course on a long-term voyage, one most estimates believe could take from three to five years before complete residential restoration.
This is why the Salvation Army of Cleveland opted to keep open the heavily used distribution center at 2960 Barney’s Lane ... because 3 1/2 months after the five waves of tornadoes, survivors still face immediate day-to-day needs.
In order to meet these reoccurring shortages, the Salvation Army continues to reach out to the community for its support — via product and monetary donations.
Almost continuously, the distribution center needs a variety of household staples like laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, all-purpose cleaners, aluminum foil, facial tissues, baby wipes, bottled water, breakfast cereal, toilet paper and furniture.
Additionally, the distribution center needs volunteers to keep its doors open and to organize the product and material donations as they arrive. Volunteers are needed throughout the center’s operating hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Jim Welch, social service case worker for The Salvation Army, told our newspaper the organization continues to work to meet the community’s short-term needs — primarily storm survivors who were displaced from their homes, some of whom will be for long periods — but the organization can respond only as long as it receives support from the Cleveland and Bradley County community.
Welch tells us all donations are gladly accepted, but he asked area businesses and churches specifically to consider product, material or monetary contributions.
The nonprofit’s representative also welcomed community residents, organizations, churches and businesses to visit the distribution center to get a personal look at how The Salvation Army is doling out the distributions and who is being assisted. Talking with the storm survivors when they visit the center for assistance is a good way to understand the residual needs.
In The Salvation Army worker’s assessment, “[If residents] will visit and see how needs are being met and how we still need help from the public, they will be inclined to stand with us and help.”
Those wishing additional information or who would like to offer help are asked to contact Melissa Snyder, community relations director, at 308-3467, or Welch at 912-266-1924.
Monetary gifts and goods can also be mailed to or dropped off to The Salvation Army office at 437 Inman St. or Don Ledford Automotive Center at 4595 North Lee Highway.
Bradley County’s recovery is long term.
We urge our residents not to forget those still struggling through the short term.