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Tennessee tornado: Michael W. Smith joins thousands of volunteers in relief efforts

Tennessee tornado: Michael W. Smith joins thousands of volunteers in relief efforts

Volunteers work to clean up tornado-damaged areas on March 4, 2020, in Cookeville, Tennessee. | Getty Images/Brett Carlsen

Disaster relief is underway in Nashville and other parts of Tennessee following Tuesday’s deadly tornado and storms that claimed at least 24 lives. Award-winning Christian artist Michael W. Smith is among many who are on the ground helping with recovery efforts.

“Disaster relief here in a devastated Nashville and middle Tennessee. But we are Nashville strong! … Let the church rise up,” Smith wrote on Instagram as he showed a photo of his family packing lunches for volunteers. 

On Wednesday morning, the artist was in Mt. Juliet with the evangelical aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, urging others to join the volunteer efforts.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery,” he said. “God’s going to bless all these efforts.” 

The tornado devastated Middle Tennessee early Tuesday, destroying homes, businesses and churches. Over a dozen people were still missing Wednesday morning. Among those who were killed were several children, including a 2-year-old. 

Gov. Bill Lee said “prayers are greatly needed” for affected families but noted that he is proud of the response he’s seen — from the “federal government down to the neighborhoods” as neighbors help one another.

Mayor John Cooper noted that the Hands On Nashville website “crashed three times due to the incredible volume of people trying to sign up to volunteer to rebuild our community.” He said more than 5,000 individuals had signed up online as of Tuesday.

Some churches have opened their doors to provide shelter, including Victory Baptist Church, Mount Juliet, as reported by Baptist and Reflector

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has teams on the ground and Samaritan’s Purse deployed three disaster relief units with relief supplies. The charities are working with local emergency management personnel and churches to clear debris and offer support to the community.

Convoy of Hope has also sent out a team with relief supplies.

Though devastated, Nashville residents are optimistic as help pours in and neighbors offer a hand. Smith called on the Body of Christ to “stand up and serve.”

“Let’s all come together and be the Hands and Feet,” he urged

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