I don't live in Tuscaloosa anymore, but I went to school at UA for my undergraduate and graduate degrees so I was there for a number of years. Many of my friends still live there and a lot of my family lives in other affected areas of north Alabama. I have been very lucky this week in that as of today all of my friends and family are accounted for and uninjured. Some are homeless now, but most escaped with only the temporary loss of their electricity. Even their pets are all safe and sound.
It breaks my heart that there are so many people who cannot say the same. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to send your baby off to school, only to have them killed or to lose entire groups of friends or family members all at once. The most recent statement just from Tuscaloosa is that there are 40 confirmed deaths and around 340 are still missing. Tuscaloosa is not that big y'all.
There are a number of ways to help even if you are not local.
1. Text SABAN to 90210 and $5.00 will be donated to the Red Cross from Crimsonhoundstooth.com. This will not come out of your bill (except of course whatever your text messaging agreement with your provider is), the website is making the donations. I originally found this in the comments on Legislative Barbie, but I've looked around and it seems to be legit.
2. Go to Animals Lost and Found in Alabama Tornadoes and look through the lost and found photos. There have already been reunions due to people from out of state matching up photos from each group. If you live in any of the surrounding states, they are also looking for volunteers to do some portions of driving as they try to find foster homes for all these lost pets.
3. Donate to the United Way of Central Alabama or any of the other local organizations helping out.
The outpouring of support has been amazing, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. I know only a handful of people read here right now, but posting makes me feel a little less helpless.