First Contact Brings Help and Hope to Survivors of the Storm

March 14, 2020
Misty Ratcliff | | (615) 504-9128

First Contact Brings Help and Hope to Survivors of the Storm

On March 4th, the day after tornadoes ripped a 50-mile path of destruction through Middle TN, our disaster response units were making plans for where to head out to serve hot meals to our neighbors who were in the hardest-hit areas when a call came in from a partner agency telling us of a neighborhood in Hermitage that had reached out about needing some food and water.

Our unit immediately headed out to that area, and reached the Hermitage Flats Apartments, in time for lunch service. The complex had just missed being hit by the tornado but was without electricity and had been told it would be 3 or 4 more days before it could be turned back on.

As soon as we arrived the residents including children, senior citizens, and disabled soon formed a line to receive a hot meal of spaghetti, green beans, and garlic bread. “Thank you” and “God Bless You” were heard in a constant chorus.

That’s when Renée came up to the line and asked if she could get a meal. As she was passing by Misty Ratcliff, Salvation Army Public Information Officer, Renée suddenly said “I need a hug” as she broke down in tears. Misty quickly wrapped her in her arms and held her in a long hug. Renée shared how our Salvation Army team were the first outsiders she had seen since the tornado. She said that everything was so quiet the day after the storm, and she hadn’t slept the night before for fear. Misty brought Renée to Darrell Short, a case manager for The Salvation Army but also a minister in his community church. Darrell was able to pray with Renée for peace and the calm to settle her soul.

A short while later, Liz came up to the line and said she had been the one to contact our partner agency seeking assistance for her neighbors. She said she was so thankful for us coming so quickly. Liz then shared a more immediate concern for her health. She was diabetic and her insulin was going on 36 hours without refrigeration. She was worried about what she was going to do since the power wouldn’t be back on for days. Misty quickly took her information and passed it to the Office of Emergency Management who were able to work with another community partner to secure a hotel room with a refrigerator for Liz to stay in until her unit’s power was restored.

Salvation Army EDS teams are here to support our community however they need, be it a hot meal, a warm hug, a prayer or assistance accessing partners and information to provide life-saving resources to our neighbors.

The Salvation Army has been serving in Middle Tennessee for 130 years, and we will continue to be there, in our community, to help all of our neighbors, like Angela and Suzan, reach stronger futures.

Financial donations are the best way to meet the evolving needs and to support relief efforts.  The Salvation Army asks those who want to help the individuals and families affected by disaster to visit or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and designate “disaster efforts.”  Monetary donations will ensure The Salvation Army can meet the most immediate needs of those impacted most.   For the latest Salvation Army disaster response news from across the country visit



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About the Salvation Army:  The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865.  Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.  About 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide.  For more information, go to

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 30 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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