Photo: Dr. David Snodgrass and a group of Snodgrass-King employees load up donations to go to down to Texas.
By LANDON WOODROOF
Snodgrass-King Dental Associates
Cardboard boxes were stacked up and down the hallways at the Cool Springs offices of Snodgrass-King Dental Associates.
Middle Tennessee residents had responded generously to the business’s calls on social media for Hurricane Harvey relief donations.
A break room was turned into a staging area where donated clothes could be separated by size and gender. It was an all hands on deck effort, with dental assistants and dentists helping to load up truck after truck of items.
“The result has exceeded expectations by far,” Dr. David Snodgrass said Thursday afternoon after another truck and trailer had been packed tight with boxes.
The dental practice had gotten involved with the relief effort due to one of their employees, Dr. Robin Hobbs, who is from Houston and still has family there, Snodgrass said.
“She called me about a week ago and said, Can we use our offices as drop off points for donations for families in Houston?” Snodgrass recalled.
Snodgrass-King has five offices in the greater Nashville area. The Cool Springs one has seen the most donations.
Snodgrass would come in one day, see the hall lined with cardboard boxes, get those loaded, and think, Well, I guess that’s that. The next day, though, he would find a whole new collection of donations.
Snodgrass chalks that up to the generosity of Middle Tennessee residents.
“To who much is given, much is expected,” he said. “And I think the citizens in the Brentwood, Franklin, Williamson County area in Middle Tennessee rise to the occasion, and they’ve certainly risen to this one and made some nice huge donations to people.”
Snodgrass-King’s has been collecting donations as part of a larger effort organized by the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, a Christian publishing company with a long and rich history in the Nashville area dating back to 1896. R.H. Boyd Publishing will transfer the donations down to Houston in two 18-wheelers, Snodgrass said.
Thursday was the final day that Snodgrass-King accepted donations. The trucks will be bound for Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church in Houston shortly.
As strong a response as Snodgrass has seen at his business over the past week, he feels like the mission to help those in need should not be just a temporary calling.
“I also feel like we can do more,” he said.
That applies to everyone, as far as Snodgrass is concerned.
“No matter what your means are, if you don’t feel like you can give very much, give something,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s five dollars, the American Red Cross can use that money to help people.”
Brentwood Baptist Church
In the past when there has been a major natural disaster somewhere, Brentwood Baptist Church has waited a little while to send volunteers down to help out.
“We don’t want to get in the way of first responders,” Missions Minister Scott Harris said. “We want to wait and see what the long term needs are.”
That has not been the case, though, with Hurricane Harvey. A church in Katy, Texas, a suburb of Houston, put the call out to Brentwood Baptist for help. The church said it had become a command post for aiding the surrounded, flooded residential areas and could give volunteers immediate and meaningful work to do.
“So we scrambled,” Harris said, emailing hundreds of church members who either had disaster relief experience or who had expressed an interest in disaster relief.
It did not take long. Within a day, a team of 12 had been organized.
“They’ve been working there this week and hopefully over the next few months we’ll be sending more teams,” Harris said. Largely, the group has been helping remove debris from flooded homes.
“On both sides of these residential streets there are miles and miles of piles of debris in front yards,” Harris said.
With work like this, Brentwood Baptist is fulfilling a role that the Southern Baptist Convention has prioritized over the years. A 2011 article in the New York Times about Southern Baptists’ responses to a tornado outbreak in the south, notes that the Southern Baptist Convention is the third largest disaster relief organization in the country, behind the U.S. government and the American Red Cross.
The fact that churches are so central to providing for local residents in times of need makes perfect sense to Harris.
“When we partner and go to these places we want to find good church partners because we want to help them help their community,” Harris said. “Because we’re not there all the time” and the local churches are.
Brentwood Baptist Church has also given people the option of making monetary donations to hurricane relief on the church website.
Holy Family Catholic Church
Holy Family’s efforts are being coordinated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville. Churches in the diocese collected money at services last weekend and will collect them again this weekend to help fund Catholic Charities USA’s work assisting those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The diocese also has an online donation form for Hurricane Harvey relief.
Pamela Russo is the executive director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc. She said that Catholic Charities USA has four or five agencies in the area impacted by Harvey.
She said that besides cash, local churches will also accept gift cards to send to workers on the ground in the affected areas. That way those workers can assess the greatest need and use the funds to purchase items accordingly.
Russo wanted to clear up a possible misconception that some may have about Catholic Charities USA.
“We serve anyone in need, not just Catholics,” she said. “Anyone is eligible for help.”
Williamson, Inc. and the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau
The area chamber of commerce announced a hurricane relief effort on Friday that involves numerous local businesses.
A news release from Williamson, Inc. says the organization has partnered with Visit Franklin and One Generation Away to raise money and canned goods for Hurricane Harvey victims through the end of October.
The drive will accept the following food items:
Peanut butter and/or jelly (in plastic jars)
Mac & cheese
Spaghetti sauce (pop-top cans or plastic jars)
“Our community learned a lot about relief efforts in 2010 when we went through our historic flood,” said One Generation Away Founder & Director Chris Whitney in the news release. “Immediately after the disaster, aid is coming in from around the country, but in the weeks and months that follow life will continue to go on and the need will still be there. That is the need we want to help fulfill. We want our friends in Texas to know that we’ll be here to help and support them for the long haul.”
WCCVB President & CEO Ellie Westman Chin agreed.
“As a hospitality community our hearts break for our friends in Texas,” Chin said in the release. “We want to do what we can to help. We know the recovery process will be long and feel even harder after the initial attention passes. We are lucky to have an incredible, giving community here and such a compassionate organization like One Generation Away we can partner with to lend a helping hand.”
Donations will be accepted at the following local businesses: