December Tornadoes: Training the Trainers in Dresden, Tennessee

Nonprofit Be the Village, which began in the living room of Sandra and Jason Taylor, meets the immediate needs of foster children across four counties and 250 families in Dresden, Tennessee each year. Children often come into the foster system in the middle of the night with very little, so Be the Village provides each child with a suitcase of books, toys, toiletries and clothes. In the three years they’ve been in operation, they’ve supported more than fifteen hundred children.

A home in Dresden.

When the December tornadoes came through, the Taylor’s home was spared, but it was three days before they could make it to their nonprofit’s building. When they did, there was nothing there.

This sign, a gift from one of their first foster children, was salvaged from the tornado damage.

As they walked through the empty lot, they found a gift one of their first foster children had made for them, a sign that said “God Bless This Place.” Sandra picked it up and determined to find a way forward.

They knew the owner of a local auto parts store had an empty warehouse across the street. When they showed up to ask if they could use it, he offered it before they spoke. They quickly moved in. It was two weeks before they had power, but churches and others in the community showed up with trucks full of supplies to unload. Shortly after, Sandra’s inbox began filling up with needs.

Sandra Taylor organizes their supplies for the community

SBP met Be the Village during our December deployment to tornado-impacted regions and, thanks to a donation from Amazon, we were able to meet some immediate needs and provide them with shelving to begin to sort and organize their donations.

During January’s deployment, SBP held a disaster recovery training for the Be the Village staff where we equipped them to be resources for their communities in filing for FEMA aid.

From their new warehouse, underneath their salvaged “God Bless This Place” sign, Be the Village will expand what it means to “be the village” in their community. They’ll come alongside families and meet their immediate needs while also helping them rebuild their lives more efficiently and effectively.

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SBP: Shrinking time between disaster & recovery

Bringing discipline & innovation to create social impact. Shrinking the time between disaster & recovery for at-risk communities. sbpusa.org