“A huge step was taken today and we need to continue on with volunteers,” said David Franklin, who is overseeing the organization Bartow Christian Disaster Recovery at Adairsville Church of God. “We’ll be here every morning starting at 8 o’clock.”
Franklin said the initial effort on Saturday — the first day in which the general public was allowed to volunteer — largely consisted of removing debris.
“[The effort is] probably going to begin transitioning to some specific things like home repairs, but we’re not to that point yet,” Franklin said. “... We will take and identify the different needs then start looking for the appropriate people who can come in and meet a specific need.”
He said homeowner’s insurance always is a factor when volunteers come to help in the recovery following a natural disaster.
“We’ve got a tree on someone’s house and if we’re to say they had insurance, we couldn’t touch a tree until the insurance company came to look at it, but if they don’t have insurance, hopefully, we’ll get the tree off,” Franklin said.
State Insurance Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens reported Friday he would send a team of insurance specialists to Adairsville Saturday to offer insurance claims assistance to those affected by the tornado.
Franklin said he feels the volunteer effort through Bartow’s faith-based community has become stronger and better organized following the April 2011 tornado.
“We have done a much better job this year with communication and with knowing what everybody else is taking care of,” he said.
He said, however, social networking sites like Facebook have allowed for the spread of misinformation regarding the recovery effort.
“We don’t even have a Facebook [account] — we have a website,” Franklin said. “We didn’t want people posting to it.”
Visit www.bartowrecovery.org for updates. Volunteers will again meet today at 8 a.m. at Adairsville Church of God, located at 297 Old Dixie Highway N.W., Adairsville, 770-773-3264. NorthPointe Church, 30 Orchard Road, Adairsville, 770-387-8135, also is seeking volunteers and drop-off donations to aid in the recovery, but is no longer serving as a shelter.
Throughout Adairsville, agencies like The Salvation Army of Georgia and the Northwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross have stepped in to provide assistance. The two organizations established a temporary shelter at Manning Mill gym.
“As The Salvation Army is assessing the damage in Bartow and Gordon County, our first and foremost response is to make sure that the storm survivors and first responders’ basic needs are met,” Maj. Jim Smith, emergency disaster services coordinator for The Salvation Army of Georgia, said in a press release. “We are working tirelessly to make sure they are fed, given something to drink and prayed for.”
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency reported 14 injured and one killed in the storm that damaged or destroyed nearly 100 homes and businesses. GEMA is encouraging those who wish to volunteer with the agency to contact the Donated Goods and Volunteer Services center, located at the Adairsville Church of God.
According to a press release from GEMA, “Any volunteers should report to the church before going into the community. People should come prepared to remove debris, rake yards, chainsaw trees, and assist with general clean-up efforts. Be sure to wear work clothes and sturdy gloves and bring tools such as chainsaws, hammers, hats and goggles. Also bring your own food and water.”
United Way of Bartow County, 770-386-1677, previously established a tornado relief fund following the April 2011 tornado. The agency is accepting monetary contributions and the funds collected will go directly to Adairsville tornado victims who qualify.
The Daily Tribune News, 251 S. Tennessee St., Cartersville, and WBHF Community Radio, 7 N. Wall St., Cartersville, are serving as United Way drop-off sites for supplies. These supplies might include bottled water, flashlights, batteries, diapers and blankets.