Samaritan’s Purse workers, volunteers helping with tornado relief efforts in Tennessee

Samaritan’s Purse workers, volunteers helping with tornado relief efforts in Tennessee

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A North Carolina-based humanitarian aid organization is helping with tornado relief efforts in Tennessee. Communities in the Nashville area were devastated by tornadoes earlier this week. At least 24 people have been confirmed dead and several homes have been destroyed.

Workers from the Boone-based Samaritan's Purse organization are already on the ground in Tennessee.

Keeth Willingham, a program manager for United States disaster relief with Samaritan’s Purse, spoke to WBTV via FaceTime Wednesday night. Willingham said the organization started mobilizing resources soon after the tornadoes touched down in Nashville. He said Samaritan’s Purse currently has around 100 volunteers and 25 to 30 staffers working on Tennessee relief efforts.

"We've seen roofs damaged like I mentioned before. We've seen a lot of trees down. There are some homes that have been completely blown away. They're scoured," said Willingham.

Those who work with Samaritan’s Purse are used to disaster relief operations. Exactly one year ago Tuesday, tornadoes devastated communities in Lee County, Alabama. The aid workers helped those neighbors rebuild. Willingham said they have already started helping people in the Nashville area too.

“We’ve been going through the neighborhood and if somebody needs a tarp on their roof we’re able to do that. If it’s a yard littered with trees, we’ve got chainsaws that we can go and cut up that debris and get it moved out,” he explained.

Willingham said Samaritan's Purse plans to set up three sites in Middle Tennessee and they hope to soon have 300 volunteers going out into communities on a daily basis.

"There are people as you go through the neighborhoods and they're walking around their property, there's not a lot of smiling because this is a serious situation," said Willingham.

Anyone interested in volunteering with Samaritan’s Purse can contact the organization through their website, https://www.samaritanspurse.org/.

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