Donations are in, Volunteers still need - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Donations are in, Volunteers still need

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CLEVELAND, BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- It has been five weeks since the April 27th tornadoes. About 500 families in Bradley County lost their homes in the storms. Many of those are still relying on donations to sustain them.

The donations are coming in but help is needed to sort the items, to make sure the items are made available to those in need.

The distribution center, on Barney Lane, held an event, Tuesday night, for that very purpose. Hoping people would come out and volunteer their time to help someone else.

The time to volunteer isn't over, it's now that people really need it.

"We would love more volunteers," says Joel Rogers with Salvation Army of Cleveland.

Now that trees have been cut and yards have been cleared, the need is for a different kind of volunteer effort in Cleveland.

"So far, I've been helping out with sorting and hanging clothes.  We've also been moving some furniture.  And it seems like they've got a pretty awesome set up going on over here," says Orlando Vandgas, volunteer.

In the first weeks after the tornadoes, neighbor were helping neighbor in incredible numbers.

"But, as people have to go back to work; as people have to get back involved in their normal life, it's really easy, if you're not seeing it daily, maybe in those areas you don't have to pass by, you forget that the need is still there.  But it is," says Rochelle Mayberry with Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency.

As a matter of fact, the number of victims stopping by for assistance has increased.

The goal is to get all the boxes emptied and the contents sorted by size, by gender. So storm victims can come in, easily go shopping and not be charged.

"We need people's time.  We desperately need that.  We're not able to do anything here at this distribution center without volunteers," says Rogers. "We need more volunteers to come and say, I can give an hour.  I can give 20 minutes.  Here's my skills, here's what I can do.  How can I help you?"

There's some data entry, some of unpacking, some jobs can be done sitting down. 

"If you want to teach your kids some value of service and helping other people, it's a great night because they can help sort, they can help put together boxes.  I had some kids helping me do that last week," says Mayberry.

If you'd like to help your Cleveland and Bradley County neighbors, volunteer nights will continue on Tuesday evenings through June from 6-9pm.

If you'd like to help out during the day, maybe over your lunch break, they're open from 9 to 6.

For a continuously updated needs list, log on to To send $10 to the effort, you can text the word Cleveland to 85944. 

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