Two years after an EF4 tornado wreaked havoc in Coweta County in 2021, the Coweta Community Foundation is preparing to commemorate the anniversary of the March 26 tornado by declaring Saturday, March 25, 2023, a Community Day of Service.
Service opportunities will be available with two of the Foundation’s community partners, Bridging the Gap and RiverLife. At Bridging the Gap, volunteers will gather at 9 a.m. to move inventory and shelves and lay down plywood flooring to improve their warehouse facility. Volunteers may register by going to BTGcommunity.org or https://www.btgcommunity.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/ Volunteers will register through the Hands on Atlanta website.
The RiverLife project will begin at 9 a.m. and will include debris removal and other clean-up endeavors. Volunteers may register at the RiverLife website, http://riverlife.org/.
There will also be a commemorative tree planting at the Hope Global Duplex on the corner of Pinson Street and Savannah Street in the heart of the Chalk Level community. This event will begin at 10 am. Limited parking is available at the Boys and Girls Club on Savannah Street. City, County, and Long-term Recovery partners are expected to attend.
“The tornado anniversary is both a sobering time as we remember the devastation and a hopeful time as we remember the many individuals and organizations who stepped up to help,” said CCF Long-term Recovery Director Rich DeWees. “These new volunteer opportunities are a great way to show that we haven’t forgotten those whose lives were forever changed by the tornado.”
DeWees noted that 2022 saw much progress in tornado recovery, including:
• Some 95 new cases entered the pipeline, including 8 renters and 87 homeowners. Of these, 19 cases were “Light Track,” meaning they needed only volunteer labor and could provide their own materials. Some 68 cases needed the “Full Track” process, addressing materials and labor for approved tornado repairs.
• Some 304 individuals were directly impacted by the services of the LTR process, and 27% of these were children.
• Coweta County’s recovery efforts were once again aided by Weaverland Disaster Services, the Mennonite group that provided teams of volunteer workers every week from January 1-April 9, 2022. Housed by CCF’s partners at RiverLife and managed by CCF’s construction manager, they completed 12 construction projects in 2022.
• The Long-term Recovery mental health team was established. This group, comprised of 20 community/nonprofit leaders, meets once a month to discuss and address mental health resources for tornado survivors.
• An additional avenue of assistance, utility assistance, was offered in 2022. Some 79 homes received the $500 utility assistance to ease the pain of recovery since tornado survivors face many needs in addition to storm-damaged homes.
The Coweta Community Foundation’s mission is to enhance the community’s quality of life by encouraging philanthropic interaction to provide a catalyst to help focus local philanthropy on the community’s ever-changing needs. As a Foundation, it manages individual gifts and bequests that enhance and support the quality of life in Coweta County.