By Christi for Nature's Gift Staff
We are all still in shock at the images & events we’ve seen unfolding over the past several days as flood waters overtook our beloved city of Nashville, surrounding counties, & other parts of the state. This historic flooding is extremely saddening & unprecedented for our area—basically we received an entire summer’s worth of rain (13-18 inches) in about a 36 hour time frame catching everyone off guard & leaving motorists & home owners trapped & stranded.
Over fifty counties in Tennessee have been declared disaster areas & Nashville itself had to declare a state of emergency after torrential rains drove the Cumberland River to more than 50 feet & over its banks, while area rivers & creeks rose over and/or into homes, businesses, & iconic Nashville landmarks such as the Grand Ole Opry House, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Opryland Hotel, & the TN Titans Stadium. The death toll continues to rise as the flood waters begin to subside. So far 10 deaths have been confirmed in Nashville with the number nearing 20 statewide.
Nature’s Gift closed on Monday after our Mayor asked us not to travel so emergency workers could continue their heroic rescue efforts. So many roads were closed in & around Nashville (many remain closed) that it was total gridlock. Even parts of the interstate system were submerged in water making travel to & from Middle Tennessee via car virtually impossible. Honestly, we needed the day off to try & absorb what is happening all around us & try to figure out what we could do to help our neighbors.
The good news for our immediate Nature’s Gift family is that none of our staff suffered any major loss of home or family. Marge has a bit of water to clean up in her family room & carpet to be replaced & a new house guest evacuated from a flooded apartment. T had a scare Saturday night when flood waters covered her front yard. Sharon’s neighborhood of Bellevue is still engulfed in several feet of water but luckily she sustained no damage to her home. Yorleny, Jim, & I had no real damage to speak of at our houses. As Jim said to me this morning, a real feat considering how spread out we all live across the Nashville area. We are all counting our blessings & filled with gratitude.
The President has said he will authorize FEMA funds for Nashville, which will allow the state & local government to access funds needed for our massive clean up & rebuilding projects. However, there are many families in need the majority without flood insurance who still need help, hundreds possibly thousands, whose homes have been devastated & escaped with only the clothes they were wearing when rescued. There is a tremendous need particularly in the interim for things like medicines, clothing, & transportation.
We have chosen to give to & make our Charity of the Quarter this quarter, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Tennessee Emergency Response Fund for Flood Relief. The emergency management agencies have endorsed this reputable nonprofit & I know they are responsible & will use the funds wisely & direct help to those individuals in most need.
We will have a link set up on our site for donations in the next day or so making it easy for you to donate anywhere from a dollar or more when you place an order. In the meantime you may donate directly. We never dreamed when our hearts were going out to Haiti in January, that our hometown of Nashville would be experiencing such devastation just a few months later.