Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation's David Barto has called on the greater Ooltewah-Collegedale area to pitch on and help provide for the families who were affected by the recent tornados in western Tennessee. This will include a collection day of donation items on Thursday at The Commons in Collegedale.
Mr. Barto wrote the following on his Facebook page.
"Two years ago several towns in Western Tennessee and southern Kentucky were devastated by tornadoes the week before Christmas. The Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation, City of Collegedale - Government, and the good people of the Greater Ooltewah-Collegedale area, along with many of our elected officials came together to send over two semi truck loads of clothing, foodstuffs, wrapped toys, bicycles, tarps, and toiletries to Lake County, Tennessee.
"Now, two years later, our fellow Tennesseans once again find themselves struck by ruinous tornadoes almost at Christmas. Hundreds of homes, businesses, churches, all destroyed as many a family were preparing for Christmas.
"Collegedale Public Works Director Eric Sines called me early on Sunday and asked if the Foundation and The Commons would once again assist, and I said we would.
"I spoke to CTF board member, District 29 State Representative Greg A Vital and he said 'do it!' Three years ago two of his Morning Pointe Senior Living centers were struck by tornados, thus he understands these natural disasters more than most. Thursday night he will be hosting Tennessee Faith & Freedom Coalition for a Christmas event at The Commons to benefit the Samaritan Center, and local VFW and American Legion, thus a great time to bring other goods to the barn at The Commons.
"I spoke to Hamilton County Commissioner Jeff Eversole and he said 'we are all in!'
"This morning I spoke with Tennessee State Representative Esther Helton-Haynes, who said, 'The loss created by the tornadoes that hit middle Tennessee is devastating and heartbreaking.
In the true Volunteer spirit of Christmas Hamilton county residents want to help in any way we can. Please consider donating items or money to help our neighbors in middle Tennessee.'
"Collegedale Mayor Morty Lloyd told me, 'Let’s do it!'
"When talking with former Collegedale City Commissioner and owner of Chatt Creative, Ethan White, he reminded me of one of my favorite sayings - 'there but by the grace of God go I.'
“'Very much the spirit of Christmas, the gift of giving', was the message from Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson.
"Hamilton County Commissioner Lee Helton said, 'The residents of East Brainerd and Apison understand what our fellow Tennesseans are going through. They were here for us in our time of need and now it’s our time to step up! We are eager to help.'
"We know that if District 29 and 30 had been struck Saturday night, folks from other parts of our great State would be doing everything they could to help us, thus we should do the same for the folks in Middle Tennessee!
"Thus, starting Thursday morning at 8 a.m. and going till 9 p.m. through Sunday evening at The Commons in Collegedale, CTF will be collecting food, clothing, wrapped toys (with a tag describing the toy), toiletries, tarps, gas cans, bicycles, gift cards, to be taken to the devastated communities in western Tennessee.
"We will be using the barn, which is to the north of Chestnut Hall close to the boardwalk, as the drop off point.
"Folks, think about what these folks are going through as we thankfully get to sit this evening in our warm homes, with our Christmas trees, gifts wrapped up all around the base, our kith and kin safe and sound, now imagine it all gone, utterly destroyed.
"It’s Christmas, let’s come together and help our fellow Tennesseans."