At least 23 people are dead after a tornado struck southern Lee County.
A number of local organizations and churches are accepting donations from victims. For those who would like to volunteer, a volunteer reception center will open Wednesday in Smiths Station.
The reception center will be at Smiths Station Baptist Church at 2460 Lee Road 430. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. C.T. Volunteers will go through a brief training and receive safety gear before being dispatched to assist with cleanup and recovery.
The Lee County EMA said all volunteers must report to the designated area to be dispatched to areas in need. United Way will be operating the center and providing volunteers with arm bands to grant them access through checkpoints.
"I think the people here and the people who have come to help us have performed admirably," Lee County EMA Director Kathrine Carson said. "We're here for the citizens, and we cannot emphasize enough that we want them to communicate with us and let us know what they need and how we can help them even further than we have."
Residents should register their needs by dialing 211. Unaffiliated volunteers will then be matched with the requests from residents.
"We do need people to continue to register there and let us know what they need," Carson said. "We can't help them if we don't know what their needs are."
Carson said Auburn University has "poured down" resources on the community.
Providence Baptist Church is offering shelter to those affected by the storm. AirBnb has also launched its Open Homes program to help victims and relief workers. The Red Cross has a number of ways to provide relief including medicine for those who may have lost their homes.
Lee County EMA has provided a map of approved distribution and drop off points, though other local organizations are also accepting donations. GoFundMe fundraising campaigns have also begun for some of the victims and their families.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has warned people to be weary of out-of-state organizations asking for donations to help victims. He suggested going through known local organizations or official national organizations like the Red Cross or Samaritans Purse.
"I know everyone wants to help and this is precisely the sentiment that scam artists prey on during times like these," Hughes wrote in a statement. "Seek out local groups to support if that is what you would like to do. Be cautious of people/groups coming in from out of the area."
Ways to help
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- East Alabama Medical Center receives blood from LifeSouth, and donations can be made at 5431 505 E. Thomason Circle in Opelika. Monetary donations can be made through EAMC's online Lee County Disaster Relief Fund.
- A Red Cross Shelter at Providence Baptist Church at 2807 Lee Road 166 in Beauregard is offering food, water and counseling.
- Donations can also be made at the Red Cross of East Alabama here.
- The Humane Society of the United States have sent a team to Lee County to help animals effected by the tornado. The group will focus on relief and coordination efforts to transport any animals unaccounted for by anyone. Donations are accepted on their website and go directly to the Emergency Animal Rescue Fund to help care for and rescue animals.
- Report missing friends and family members here.
- CERT members available for disaster assessments should report to Smiths Station Fire Department and Jeremy Jones.
- Campus Kitchen, an Auburn University student-volunteer initiative to address food insecurity in Lee County, is collecting food for the victims of the storm.
- Gorree's Furniture is accepting donations. Anyone wanting to donate furniture can contact the store at 334-742-0607.
- Montgomery EMA is collecting hygiene items, baby formula, diapers, wipes, bottled water and non-perishable snack items to take to Lee County first responders and victim shelters.
- Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church is opening for supply drop off.
- St. Ellis Full Gospel on US Hwy 80 in Opelika, Alabama, is accepting non-perishable supplies such as blankets, starting at 11 a.m.
- Church of the Highlands is accepting donations at The Auburn Dream Center at 1103 Donahue Drive. Open today from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Items collected will include granola bars, diapers, bottled water, baby formula, baby wipes, hygiene products.
- Smith Station Volunteer Fire Department is the designated area where people affected by the storms can seek shelter.
- Opelika Animal Hospital is offering boarding services at no charge.
- CoffeeCat is accepting donations for the victims.
- Community Foundation of East Alabama has set up a Long Term Recovery Fund.
- Auburn University College of Liberal Arts is accepting donations Monday, March 4, and Tuesday, March 5.
- Auburn High School is accepting donations at Track Entry Gate on Monday, March 4, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Auburn University Phi Kappa Tau has set up a GoFundMe page for tornado relief. They are also accepting donations for the American Red Cross of Alabama outside of their house at 841 W. Magnolia Ave. in Auburn.
- The Bridge Church is accepting donations from Tuesday, March 5, to Saturday, March 9.
- Lakeside Church of God is accepting donations through Friday, March 8.