NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The weekend of May 1st brought historic flooding to Middle Tennessee, as record-breaking rains dumped 13 to 16 inches to much of the area. More than 11,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of Middle Tennesseans were displaced.
Hands On Nashville coordinated much of the volunteer response. “Hands On Nashville played a pretty significant role in the flood. It was responsible for organizing the construction and rebuilds of homes after the flood. So we worked with several partner agencies that did the work, but we we kind of, we kind of were the air traffic controller, if you will,” says Lori Stinton, the President and CEO of Hands On Nashville.
This non-profit organization is ready to go whenever disaster strikes, “Hands On Nashville actually has an agreement with the city, where we are written into the city’s emergency management plan. And so we handle all things volunteer-related when a disaster is declared or the city deems there’s a disaster response necessary,” says Stinton.
Stinton says that a lot has changed since 2010, “One of the things that changed in the world between 2010 and 2022 is social media. Let me give you an example. In 2010, Hands On Nashville, probably registered 25,000 volunteers over the course of 2010. When the tornado happened, we had 25,000 people hit our website in a week.”
While some things have changed, Stinton says that the importance of nonprofits has remained the same, “Nonprofits are crucial to disaster response, you know, there’s so much that government can do. And then nonprofits, right, we exist to fill in those gaps. And so to support the long term recovery, that getting back to home, it doesn’t occur without nonprofits.”