Updated, Friday April 29, 1:23 pm EST: Like most every compassionate world citizen today, our thoughts are with those in the southern United States, which has been ravaged by devastating tornadoes. Here's a roundup of how you can help the thousands of families in need. We'll be updating this throughout the day, so check back for more donation opportunities as they come.
United Way of West Alabama: 2720 Sixth St. No. 100, between Lurleen Wallace Boulevard and Capitol Park, 205-345-6640. The United Way could use donations of nonperishable food items, clothes, tarps, and feminine hygiene products. You can also make cash donations, all of which will stay local, by credit card at www.uwwa.org.
Feeding America: Feeding America distributes food to local food banks providing meals to states hit by the tornadoes. Donate to them here.
St. Mark United Methodist Church: 1421 McFarland Blvd., Northport, Alabama, 205-339-5990. The church is currently serving as a shelter for the displaced, and you can send it nonperishable food and clothes. If you're in the area, they could also use volunteers with medical training.
Red Cross: The Red Cross has already set up temporary shelters across the damaged states and is providing meals and medical assistance to families. As usual, you can donate $10 to their relief effort by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999. You can also donate online or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. If you'd like to donate by mail, send your donations here:
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 4002018
Des Moines, IA 50340
The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services is also providing food to the displaced. You can donate $10 to them by texting "GIVE" to 80888. To donate online, go to salvationarmyusa.org, and to give via phone, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and say you'd like to designate your funds for the "April 2011 Tornado Outbreak." You can also send checks to:
Salvation Army Disaster Relief
P.O. Box 100339
Atlanta, GA 30384
To give specifically to Alabama or Mississippi, you can use the channels those states have established for giving:
Alabama's Emergency Relief Fund: The Alabama Governor's Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives steps in when other avenues have relief have been exhausted. Go to servealabama.gov to give money or volunteer time.
Mississippi Disaster Recovery Fund: Like the one in Alabama, this is run by the governor's office, and you can offer up cash or time. Visit mississippi.relief.com.
Portlight (help for the disabled): Portlight is a nonprofit that assists America's disabled, a service made all the more important by a horrible natural disaster. To help tornado victims, Portlight will be identifying those most in need and giving them $100 debit cards. Click here to donate to their cause.