LCIF Providing Tornado Relief
LCIF Providing Tornado Relief
In April and May of 2011, the United States experienced devastating tornadoes in the southern states, impacting thousands of people and causing millions of dollars in damage. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is mobilizing US$606,000 to assist Lions efforts in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. This includes disaster grants as well as designated donations from Lions.
On May 22, 2011, a tornado tore a path nearly 14-miles long through Joplin, Missouri, destroying 7,500 homes and displacing 50,000 people. Ten school buildings were destroyed. Chairperson Scruggs and his wife, Judy, visited the area July 26-27, 2011.
When Lions found out that a Joplin battered women’s shelter had opened its doors to women and children left homeless from the tornado and was struggling to provide the 120 additional meals each day, Lions provided three grocery shopping trips to help keep the shelter’s food supply stocked. Partnering with the First Response Team of America to rebuild homes, Lions helped to clear debris from 45 home sites. Lions also provided funding to purchase needed school materials. Lions from across the state and across the U.S. have traveled to Joplin to volunteer their time. View photos and a video of our relief efforts to help those affected by the tornadoes throughout Missouri.
LCIF has awarded a grant of US$20,000 to support schools in District 30-M in Webster County, which is where the majority of the tornado damages occurred. The Lions spent a lot of time meeting with the community to evaluate unmet needs. In meeting with the superintendent, he indicated that three high schools lost SMARTBoard equipment. These are electronic chalkboards with computer systems. The items are not covered for replacement by federal funds. With these funds, Lions will replace this equipment.
From April 25-28, 2011, more than 300 people were killed across eight southern states in the largest tornado outbreak in United States history. The hardest hit state was Alabama, with the worst damage occurring in the cities of Tuscaloosa, where the University of Alabama is located, and northern Birmingham. Tornado winds reached speeds of 200 mph and some of the tornadoes were a mile wide.
Immediately following the devastation in Alabama, Lions responded. “Lions from around the world have called me to hear how the local Lions are doing,” said Lions International Director Yamandu Acosta, of Alabama. He has received calls from Australia, Spain and Peru as well as others.
Twenty-seven Lions clubs in District 12-O, Tennessee are providing 200 families with prepared food boxes. They hope to also provide needed medical supplies and eyeglasses. In Birmingham, Alabama, Lions have set up a warehouse staging area to collect and distribute donated goods. Lions in Alabama have partnered with Vision Service Plan to provide eye exams and eye glasses to people who lost them during the tornado. VSP provided District 34-A with 1,000 vouchers and District 34-B with 500 vouchers. The value of this collaboration is estimated at US$300,000-$450,000.