Madison Karr, 22, lives in Albany but has family in Alabama, where more than 200 people were killed by tornadoes on April 27.
"We actually watched it live on the computer here while it was happening. My mother was actually completely hysterical and crying. It was heading for my great-grandmothers house at that time," says Karr.
Her aunt, Janet Thomas, lives in Guntersville, Alabama. Thomas says trees are down everywhere and power is just now being restored in some residences.
"Just hearing the tress fall you were in the basement hearing the trees fall and you don't really know if they're falling on the house or whatever," says Thomas.
Karr's family was fortunate, but now she is stepping up to help those who weren't. The 22-year-old set up "Donation Station" where community members can donate items or money to buy items for the victims of the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
"My mother and grandmother who live here were able to go down and help out cutting down trees, bought a generator so they could have some power and I didn't get to go. I had to work so I feel really obligated to do something to help out," says Karr. "It just really touched me and, like I said, I could give anything if I could have been there with her and my disabled uncle so I feel like loading my truck up with all the donations that I can get just to go down there, that will make me feel better."
She says she called the Red Cross in Tuscaloosa and found out that the tornado wiped out their central facility, leaving them desperately in need for a variety of items especially for newborns and infants.
Karr will drive the goods down on May 21st. With 67 counties in Alabama being declared disaster areas, including where Tuscaloosa is located, the area will greatly appreciate the assistance.
"For the houses that are devastated where there's no house, can you imagine what they're going through? Trying to find a place to live, trying to find just some memento of their past and just the daily things you take for granted," says Thomas.
"I want to go hug some people and help out physically and be there. It's my home. I've lived in 11 different states and Alabama is my home," Karr says.
The Red Cross in Tuscaloosa needs the following items:
- Anything for newborns, infants
- Ready-to-eat, non-perishable food
- Tarps (for covering roofs, making shelter)
- New underwear, socks for people of all ages and all sizes
- School supplies (three schools were damaged in the tornadoes)
- Pet supplies
You can donate these items or money to buy these items at the Adventure Dive Center at 1104 N. Westover Blvd, Suite #3 (across from the Golden Corral). The Adventure Dive Center can be contacted at 229-888-3483 and store hours are 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. Tueday through Friday and 10 A.M. through 5 P.M. on Saturday.