Despite the fact that COVID-19 continues to create changes in everyday social life, work rules and hygiene awareness, the state faced another threat only two weeks ago.

Middle Tennessee saw the full impacts and devastation of what severe tornadoes can wreak over a community. It is important to be aware that those that suffered from these storms are still handling the remaining impact, despite other factors coming into play in the communities.

Putnam County and Nashville are still working to rebuild, volunteer and announce the relief efforts going on to assist those whose lives were affected.

According to an email statement from President Alisa White, “While we don’t know how many members of our campus community were directly affected, more than 580 Austin Peay students and 100 employees have homes in those counties affected by Tuesday morning’s severe storms.”

This is not the first time the community has faced these kinds of challenges. Our own city faced similar destruction and tragedies 21 years ago.

Clarksville was struck by an F-3 tornado that devastated most of downtown and uprooted many trees around campus.

Looking back at these kind of historic moments in Clarksville can bring the connection to our state’s situation full circle. Some students’ or faculty’s communities in Nashville and Putnam County are still facing the tornado damages, along with the concerns of COVID-19.

APSU has listed opportunities the community can give back, through the APSU Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement center on campus. It has provided a list of information on the campus unified locations and sites to donate, as well as a list of what items are preferred right now.

The center ask that no clothes are donated at this time and currently bins are not available, for precautions of COVID-19.

Due to the coronavirus, volunteer opportunities are limited at the moment as a precaution for citizens’ health.

“Currently, it is not advised to have groups of 10 people or more in one gathering, and so we are no advising students to head to Nashville with large volunteer groups,” director of Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement Alexandra Wills said. “Financial donations are the safest way to help the tornado victims currently due to the COVID- 19 virus.”

Those that wish to help with relief should make sure to always double check where their donations are going, and avoid unreliable sources. Some locations don’t always give as much money to relief as a donor may belief.

During this time, social distancing is recommended by the CDC. This may mean changes in those volunteer locations and how items are being accepted.

“The University has reached out to students who may have been affected by the storms and has offered assistance in some emergency aid. We hope to pick back up on our collection drives and on the ground volunteering once it is safe to do so,” Wills said. “At this point, we need our students to practice social distancing and stay safe so that we can help others in the future.”

Despite this, there are still ways the community can help with tornado relief in these areas. The Service Learning Center also provided these online locations to submit money donations to:

  • Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund
  • The Red Cross 
  • United Way 
  • Putnam County has set up official accounts with 100% of donations going to impacted victims:
  • Venmo – @CookevillePutnamCountyTornado  Paypal- @CookevillePutnamCountyTornadoReliefFund
  • To help APSU students directly impacted by the tornado, donate here.

Even in a time of outbreak, there are still remote ways to try and assist those that are now suffering the affects of the virus, and a recent weather tragedy. For most people, these kind of events blow over after a week or two, but for the people whose homes, families and community suffered impact, it is still a day-by-day experience.

Click here for more information on donation relief opportunities and resource information for those that may have been affected.

APSU once overcame and rebuilt from the destruction of severe weather, and now the same opportunities arise for the communities affected last week. To see what kind of relief can come and impacts are made by tornadoes in a community, view The All State’s special coverage on the 20th anniversary of the Clarksville tornadoes.