What Would You Do If You Lost Everything?

Today I want to tell you about a family, just one of many, who lost everything in the deadly tornadoes that hit Alabama.  This is just one of many families whose lives were devastated by the tornadoes on April 27, 2011.  We are raising donations to take to this community to help families like the one you will read about below.  Please read their story, and even though I usually don’t ask for donations via my blogs I’m begging you to please help if you have the means to do so.  No donation is too small, and every penny will go to help this small farming community recover.

The Crosby family are old family friends.  The Grandfather, Earl, and my husband’s uncle have been the best of friends since they were young boys.  They grew up together in Florida, and eventually the Crosby’s moved to Mount Hope, Alabama to be closer to Ben’s uncle’s family.  Over the years their little farm has grown to a farm with 4 family homes where they raised horses and other animals.

When the 1/2 mile wide tornado hit Mount Hope, Alabama, Earl’s family suffered greatly.  All four family homes were destroyed.  Earl lost his life, and many other family members are hospitalized.  In fact the only family members who are not in the hospital are the 3 grandchildren and one of Earl’s daughters.  His wife is, Barbara, was severely injured, and she is currently in one hospital.  Their son is in critical condition in another hospital.  He was injured so severely part of his skull had to be removed, and his prognosis isn’t good.  One of the daughter’s was recovering from surgery she had a week before the tornado, and now she is hospitalized with a severe infection.  Earl’s sister-in-law is also hospitalized with injuries.

All 4 grandchildren were treated for injuries, but thankfully they weren’t severe and were released.  Now the 4 grandchildren are staying with their aunt in a 1 bedroom apartment.  The patriarch of the family lost his life, and only the one sister has a home to return to.



This is just a glimpse of the damage caused when one home was destroyed.
This is just a glimpse of the damage caused when one home was destroyed.

Friends and neighbors in Mount Hope have spent the week doing what they can to search through the rubble to rescue the farm animals (that didn’t pass away when the barn collapsed), find any belongings that could be found (not many at all), and start a cleanup process.  Friends have taken in the remaining horses, and they are now struggling to keep them fed.  One mother horse lost her life, and they are now bottle feeding the baby.  Many of the other horses and animals were injured and need care throughout the day.

These families have been trying to care for what’s left of the Crosby’s farm while caring for their own families.  Power has been restore (thankfully a month before expected), but supplies are still very much needed.  Most food and supplies must be purchased in another town 20 miles away because many businesses in this small farming community were destroyed by the tornado.  It is very hard for the families to get the supplies they need because they can’t purchase the gas they need to pick up supplies.  After driving to another town to get gas and supplies they must wait in long lines at the pump where they are then rationed on their gas purchase.   They must conserve the gas they are able to buy because many of the families don’t have jobs to return to and have already exhausted any savings they had.

Now that the power has been restored a few have been able to return to work, but it’s still going to be a long road of recovery for the people of Mount Hope, especially those like Earl’s family.  The National Guard and Red Cross has been through the area, but they can’t setup to provide these families with everything they need.  There just aren’t enough resources available, and they are greatly needed in the bigger areas of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.  There are many of these small farming towns who were hit by those deadly tornadoes, and the people in these towns must rely on donations from individuals and small churches to help.

With the power back on some of the more immediate needs have been met thanks to the local church groups and other individuals helping.  Many things are still needed, though, especially for the families who lost everything.  Without homes to return to they have nothing more than the clothes that have been provided by Red Cross and the church groups.

My mother-in-law and my husband will be making a trip to Alabama on May 11th to transport donated items we have gathered.  We have been blessed with great communities of our own who are willing to help, but some things are still greatly needed.

I will be raising donations to purchase items for the Crosby family and other families that have been affected in Mount Hope.  We will be purchasing items that have not been donated (or are needed in greater quantities), and I have setup a donation site through ChipIn.  All money raised will go to purchase items needed.  Leftover funds will be used to purchase a few gift cards to help families get back on track, and the rest will be donated to one of the local churches who has been providing clothing and hot meals to the families in need in Mount Hope.  Updates, as we get them, are also being posted on the Mount Hope, Alabama Tornado Relief Fund Chip In Page.

Please if you have the ability to do so consider donating anything you can, no matter how small the amount is.  All funds are much needed to help these families!

Needed Items Include:

  • ant poison, bug spray (if you’ve ever been to the Southern states in the Summer months you know bug spray is a must while clearing through the rubble)
  • sunscreen
  • trash bags (for clearing rubble)
  • baby wipes and diapers
  • hand sanitizer
  • toiletries and personal care items
  • laundry detergent
  • rubber gloves and work gloves (for clearing rubble)
  • shampoo, conditioner, and soaps
  • paper towels, paper plates, disposable cups and plastic silverware
  • first aid supplies
  • horse feed, chicken feed, cat food, dog food
  • financial contributions (to buy supplies and provide the families with money to help purchase more of the items they need as they get back on their feet)

Also needed (but not immediately) are items to help these families recover when they find homes.

  • pots, pans, cooking utensils
  • sheets and other bedding
  • furniture
  • other household items
  • gift cards to purchase other items that will be needed

The Crosby family children have lost everything.  They have no toys, no books, nothing.  These children have suffered through devastation, their parent’s are hospitalized, and they have lost their grandfather.  The oldest girl only remembers “seeing a tree coming at me.”  It’s hard to imagine what these children have been through.

It’s not much, but I would like to provide them with some things to keep them entertained while they work through the devastation that has hit them.

  • The 17 year old girl could use hair accessories, makeup, small jewelry items, notebooks, pens, books, and other things teenagers like.
  • The 3 boys, ages 8-11, could use games, toys, books, and other items younger boys like to play with.

I will be sending a computer loaded with a few games and programs needed when school starts back up, but the children will not be able to use it until they are settled into a new home, and no one knows when that will be.  These families will be struggling to get back on their feet, and even though housing is top priority, the families who are taking them in will not be able to provide shelter forever.

I don’t ask my readers to donate often, but there is an urgent need to help the families of Mount Hope and surrounding towns who are living through this devastation.  Please consider donating anything at all if you have the means to do so. You will find the donation button on my blog’s sidebar.

If you can’t help financially but would like to send items you may email me (jshusterman @ charter . net) or leave a comment on this post, and I will reply to you with information on how to do that.  We have people mailing items from all over the country to us, and we will be transporting them or sending them when we can.  The post office in Mount Hope was damaged, and it is hard to get packages into them at the present time.

If you can’t donate please consider re-posting this information along with a ChipIn badge on your own blog or website!

Thank you for reading this, and may you all have a blessed day.

*UPDATE 05/06/11*

Volunteers have arrived in Mt. Hope to help along with tons of supplies to give the families what they immediately need!  (See the comments section)  One of the churches is packed with supplies!

We will still be sending everything we have collected (a big thank you to everyone who has donated supplies and funds), and they will be distributed where they are needed most whether it be Mt. Hope or one of the neighboring towns.

Although immediate needs have been met there is still a need for basic household items, cooking utensils, towels, can openers, plates, etc.  We will do everything we can to help these families.


*UPDATE 5/09/11*
I have posted a few photos of some of the items we have collected.  Please follow this link to view them!


8 Replies to “What Would You Do If You Lost Everything?”

  1. Hi, I am from Mount Hope, born and raised here and raising my own family here. I am a teacher at the school and just want to say the kids are a blessing to see each day since the storm. They have been through so much, but they seem to be adjusting fairly well. I am a member at the church that is “filled to the brim” and I truly am grateful for the people who have made donations of all kinds to help our small community. God is the one who has given us HOPE! God bless you all and prayers are continually being lifted up for Earl Jr and the others.

  2. I don’t know who you are, but I am so GRATEFUL to you for doing this for the Crosby family because they are not just a name to me, but my family. Barbara Crosby is my sister, and I live in Florida, and can not be up there like I wish I could be. Me and my entire family are grateful for all you and everybody are doing for the Crosby family and others of Mount Hope. I have a neice up in NJ taking clothing and other donations for the family too. Hopefully someday soon, we can meet so I can thank you personally for everything you are doing for my family. My thanks go out to you and everybody else.
    Louise Zaccagnino

  3. Thank you so much for this info! The last we were told the churches were doing what they could, but the supplies were limited. This is such great news! It’s such wonderful news to hear help has arrived! I will pass the info along immediately. My mother-in-law and husband will still be making a trip down there to help family, and as we have collected a nice amount of donations they will still be sent down (and donated to the churches so they can be passed along to wherever they are needed most), but I am so happy to hear supplies are there now!

  4. I just wanted to let you know that our group was in Mt Hope today helping at the Little farm. The church in town across from the post office is filled to the brim with every kind of supply you could imagine. Send your friends there to get what they need instead of driving all the way to town. They can also call down there to request volunteers for work that may be needed at their property. They sent us to wherever help was needed. The first place was a farm where we walked the wheat fields to pick up wood and metal debris. Whatever needs to be done, the volunteers are there to do it!
    Every kind of supply means anything you can think of!:)
    Good luck!

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