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!


The Facts Don’t Add Up

I read an article tonight that made me sad and angry on so many levels.  I’m sure many of you have already seen the article about the 7 day old baby that was killed by a pit bull while sleeping next to his 16 year old mother.  As soon as I began reading the article I was angered. 

I’m not going to rant about how I feel about pit bulls.  All I’ll say is that I’m one of those people that believes a dog will be what a dog is raised to be.  If the owner doesn’t take the steps to properly raise a dog, no matter what the breed, it has the potential to harm others.

With that said I also promise not to rant about my feelings on teenage motherhood.  I’ll simply state that I personally don’t feel anyone is ready to be a mother at that age, and it’s a shame that our nation has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the industrialized world.

With all that being said what the hell was this girl (because she’s certainly not a woman) thinking leaving her newborn child in the room with any animal while she was sleeping? On top of that how did she not know that her child was being mauled by the dog if the baby was in bed with her like the story reports.  You’ll note the article states:

Police say a pit bull terrier fatally mauled a 7-day-old Florida baby as the child apparently lay next to his sleeping teenage mother.

That makes me think there’s still some question as to whether or not the child was actually sleeping next to the mother. I just honestly don’t get how the mother, no matter what her age, could sleep through a dog attacking her child right next to her! Heck, I wake up if Elliana so much as moves a toe when she’s in bed with me, but even if I were a heavy sleeper I would definitely wake up if a dog was attacking my child right next to me.

The article also states that the mother answered the door when someone knocked on it and woke her up. You want me to believe she slept through a dog attacking her baby, but she was awakened by something as simple as someone knocking on the door? Then she took the time to answer the door before checking on her child? Seriously, what is this world coming to? What kind of person lets something like this happen to an innocent 7 day old baby?

I feel sorry for this poor innocent baby that lost it’s life due to such negligence, and I seriously hope the mother is charged accordingly. The story doesn’t mention anything other than the dog being carted off to animal services.

I could shake my head and ask what is this world coming to if these are the children of our future, but I’m not so sure this case is totally about the age of the mother.  In my opinion it’s about ignorance and negligence, and that’s something you’ll find at any age.

I’m definitely interested in hearing anymore details about this case that may come forward.  I see too many questions left unanswered, and too many facts that don’t seem to add up.

Under Water

Yep, it’s still raining, and now it’s flooding, too.  I woke up this morning to the sound of a monsoon like downpour…the kind we normally associate with very tropical weather.  I looked out the bathroom window and found a good majority of our back yard to be under water.  The garden had turned into a pond, and even half of our front yard was flooded out.  It’s been years since we’ve had to worry about the front yard flooding, so I knew it’d done some heavy raining.

A good majority of the county is dealing with flooding right now, and Oconee County schools are running buses on a 2 hour delay in the morning.  Most of the damage is happening up in the mountains, and we happen to live right at the base of that.  Luckily the creek behind our house is as we call it “down in the holler” lol, so we don’t have to worry about flooding come off that creek.

According to WGOG someone reported receiving 6.8″ of rain in Walhalla between 7am yesterday and 12:30pm today.  I definitely believe it!  My mom called this morning to say there’s a massive land slide on her road (one road over from ours), so she couldn’t get out to go to church.  It wouldn’t have done her any good anyway because a couple larger creeks above between her house and the church were all flooded out.  Sertoma Field is completely under water as usual, but I’ve never seen it this bad.

Luckily the lower half of the county doesn’t seem to have been hit as hard.  When we headed to dinner some of the roads were even drying up, and it hardly rained on us at all.  We did a quick dinner at Fatz Cafe to celebrate our anniversary (6 years today), then we went to the store to pick up some stuff just in case the river floods later tonight.  We wouldn’t have to worry too much about the riving flooding us out of our house, but we’d have to worry about it flooding the road out preventing us from getting to town.

I decided to take advantage of some coupons I had for some new makeup now that my face is darkening because of the “pregnancy mask”.  I’ve been really self conscious about my face lately, and I’m hoping the new foundation will help out.  The darker tone to my skin is causing me to notice a ton of fine lines around my mouth and eyes.  I know I’m “only” 27, but it’s making me wonder if I should seriously start using some anti wrinkle cream. I figured that’s something I wouldn’t really start doing until I hit my 30s, but now I’m rethinking that.

We also hit up Kmart in search of a new pair of work boots for Hubby since he blew a hole in the bottom of his last week.  When I can afford it I need to order him a nice pair of boots instead of constantly buying him these cheap ones that wear out so quickly.

Anywho, all of our running around is done for the evening, and now I’m just happy to be back inside where it’s nice and dry.  I ended up bringing half my food home with me thanks to my squished up pregnant belly not letting me eat much in one sitting, and now I’m ready to go heat up the leftovers.  The rest of those jumbo fried shrimp are going to be really good right about now.