Monday, May 9, 2011

All 4 Alabama

While on vacation, I started thinking about the Do The Write Thing for Nashville auctions and how successful that seemed to be. It was like fate. My friend Julie sent an email saying she was wanting to do some kind of auction to raise money (her town was hit pretty hard too) and that's when I knew this is what I needed to do. I immediately e-mailed Lindsey Leavitt and her enthusiasm for what I was asking her was inspiring. I couldn't wait to ask Rachel Hawkins but I did (I didn't think she'd appreciate her phone going off at 2am) but as soon as I asked she was on board as well.

Lindsey did a LOT of searching the internet for people who may have been interested in helping. She then e-mailed me saying that she found out that a few other people had already gone live with Help Write Now. Did we continue? Should we try to team up with them?

After talking to Julie, we both decided that we still wanted to continue but we would focus on smaller communities and try to adopt them. When I shared this with Lindsey, she replied and said I should contact Courtney who was coordinating something with the same sentiment. So I did.

Courtney replied and after a few emails and my flight home, we decided to meet up and discuss All 4 Alabama. We had the same vision and the same excitement for what we were going to be doing and we joined forces. In the few days since, we have emailed quite a few people in the writing community and have gotten a LOT of great feedback. As I was going through the list of people donating things for our auction, I was smiling so hard my eyes started welling up with tears.

I feel so blessed to be a part of an online community that cares so damn much about others. I have seen some of the most horrific destruction I have ever seen in the few days since I've been back home but I have also heard of so many volunteers showing up that they are turning people away! Isn't that amazing? 

So today is the day that all the hard work and planning Courtney and I have done gets shared with the rest of the world.

The goal of All 4 Alabama is to raise money through auctions and donations so we can "adopt" a rural Alabama community that may not receive as much attention in relief efforts as the larger cities such as Birmingham and Tuscaloosa and their surrounding areas. Right now these people have broken hearts and spirits and can use all the help they can get.

With all the other stuff going on in the world right now, let's not forget what happened in the South last week. There are people who are still picking through the rubble trying to salvage anything they can from their life before April 27th.

Check us out at

Also, if you make a purchase at ANY Barnes & Noble or on their website from 5/7-5/14 and you use bookfair #1048605, 10% of sales using this code go to the United Way's West AL tornado relief. Thanks to Lindsey Leavitt for this!

Devastation & Destruction

I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to start this post and there are just no words right now. To be honest, I started this post days ago and had to come back to it. The last two weeks have been full of excitement, heartbreak, laughter, and sorrow and I've been fighting with myself over everything.

For those of you who don't know me, I live in Birmingham, Alabama. Unless you've been disconnected for all things electronic, you know that on April 27th tornadoes ripped through the south leaving one of the biggest paths of destruction. This series of storms was like no other and although this storm produced over 400 tornadoes in three days, 249 of those occurred on the 27th. As of now, the death toll is at 239.

My husband and I were on vacation while all this was happening and not only did I feel terrible for enjoying myself but I felt helpless. We glued ourselves to our local ABC affiliate's iPhone app while things were still happening and as soon as we checked into our hotel, we perched in front of a TV taking it all in.

I was anxious to get back home. The rest of the trip we watched as much as we could and kept updated on family through text messages and friends through Facebook. The whole time I could only think about what I could do to help while sitting in California.

We were very fortunate. Our friends and families all made it through the storms with little-to-no damage but there are hundreds of people who cannot say the same. I can't tell you what it felt like driving through a place only 10-15 minutes from my house, to see nothing against the night sky where houses and trees should have been. My heart breaks for everyone that was affected on that day but we will rebuild and the people who lost their lives for no reason will never be forgotten.