BU Online Students and Families Affected by Rash of Tornadoes

Monson, Mass.

The severe tornadoes that have terrorized various parts of the nation this year came storming into Western and Central Massachusetts on Wednesday, leaving deadly devastation in their wake and causing significant destruction to the hometown of at least one Boston University Online student.

“I live in Monson, (Massachusetts) one of the hardest hit towns and fortunately my house withstood the storm but we lost most of our town,” Ashley Rose posted in an IS 360 discussion thread, explaining to her classmates in the Undergraduate Degree Completion program that her discussion contributions may be sporadic for a few days while power is restored. “To think of all this damage and luckily everyone made it out with only minor injuries. Just so shocked it hit up here in New England and so close to home. I hope everyone else is ok.”

The photos below were taken by Ashley when she went to help with Monson’s recovery efforts on Thursday, an afternoon after violent storms killed at least four people in the region. A Boston television station reported that at least one of the three tornadoes tore through the area at an EF-3 classification on the Fujita Scale, meaning it packed winds between 136-165 miles per hour, though other media outlets have suggested it may have been even stronger.

By comparison, the vicious twister that last month decimated Joplin, Missouri, rated at EF-5 — but also consider that less than 8 percent of America’s 1,007 confirmed tornadoes this year have been at least as powerful as EF-3.

The governor and the president have declared it a State of Emergency and a federal Disaster Area, respectively, but even with the National Guard on the scene the need for assistance is ongoing.  Hundreds of people have been forced into shelters, and more than 200 buildings damaged, so the Red Cross is currently accepting donations online, on the phone, or via text.

“We need all the help we can get,” Ashley wrote on Friday. “Those pictures are just a glimpse of all the damage.”

If you were impacted by the tornadoes in Massachusetts, Missouri, or anywhere, and would like to share your story or photos, please do so in the comments section below or by emailing us at disted@bu.edu. We wish you the best.

One Comment

Update from Ashley on how to help posted on June 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm

The cleanup process has begun and although it is going to take some time, progress is being made. The devastation made to so many neighborhoods is indescribable and so many people lost their homes, their livelihood, and their businesses. Some would say that pictures are worth a thousand words, but I don’t even think that these pictures and news reports begin to show the true devastation. I will have to say that I can’t believe how many people have come out to help. We are all so grateful of those who are coming out to donate their time, food, supplies and monetary donations and if anyone is interested in helping out I have included in this post places where they can do so.

Anyone wishing to make donations can do so at any Monson Savings Bank branch. Monson Savings Bank has set up a fund to help rebuild Monson, and has contributed $5,000. People can also write a check made out to the Monson Savings Bank Tornado Assistance Fund and mail it to Monson Savings Bank Tornado Assistance Fund, Monson Savings Bank, 107 Main St., Monson, MA, 01057.

The Salvation Army is asking for monetary donations toward tornado relief in Massachusetts, which can be made on-line at http://www.salvationarmy-ma.org.

Text “TSAMA10” to 85944 to make a instant $10 donation.

Bring your donations of clothing and household items to their location at 327 Liberty Street, Springfield.

To donate your time or services, please call Massachusetts DHQ at 339-502-5900 during normal business hours. Thank you for volunteering.

The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations which enables them to provide shelter, food, and emotional support in response to disasters.

Visit http://www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter at 506 Cottage St., Springfield, MA 01104 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

The Pioneer Valley Chapter currently has a need for specialized translators–if you are trained in the following: Napalese, Arabic, Burmese, Russian or Spanish–please report to the Pioneer Valley Chapter at 506 Cottage St., Springfield and ask for Paula W.

They are delivering emergency food for tornado victims. They supply food to the Springfield Rescue Mission, Springfield Housing Authority, and other community organizations.

To donate food visit: http://www.foodbankwma.org, drop off food at The Food Bank in Hatfield, or Springfield Partners at 721 State St. To conduct your own food drive click here.

The Council of Churches of Greater Springfield is asking for food, clothing, household items and in some cases furniture. They might even be able to pickup your donations. For more info call 413-733-2149. The full list of drop-off locations can be found here. If you want to become a future drop-off location email info@councilofchurchesgs.org.

Open Pantry at 2460 Main St in Springfield is accepting food donations.

Accepting clothing at 19 Bliss St., Springfield.

Accepting food at 1023 Main St., West Springfield.

Dakin Animal Hospital at 171 Union St. in Springfield is taking emergency and care for any and all animals, but they need your help. They need clean towels and blankets, canned cat and kitten food, and clay no-clumping cat litter. For more details on how you can help call 781-4000.

The staff at Brooking Elementary School is collecting supplies for their students (many who are now homeless). If you can donate toothpaste, toothbrushes, toiletries, soap, conditioner, clothes or other things, call Giana at 703-930-0243.

Equipment supplies for Monson are needed, including chainsaws, 2-cycle oil, blades, sharpeners, bar oil, work gloves, plastic bins, gas containers, dust masks, trash bags. Anything will help. Donation drop-offs at Life’s Memories and More on Park Street in Palmer.

The Springfield Armor has posted an online auction to help out the victims.

Big Y is matching up to $50,000 to the American Red Cross when you donate at any Big Y location.

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