M25M Disaster Response team headed to Nashville and other tornado stricken areas of Tennessee early Wednesday afternoon

By: Chuck Gibson

CINCINNATI, OH  – Disaster response coordinator Ben Williams led a caravan of five disaster response vehicles out of the parking lot at Matthew 25: Ministries early Wednesday afternoon, March 4, as they headed south to Tennessee to help those affected by tornadoes that struck Nashville and surrounding areas overnight Monday and early Tuesday, March 2-3.

M25M Disaster Response Coordinator Ben Williams briefs the six member response team before departing for Tennessee Wednesday, March 4 (Photo by Chuck Gibson) 

Williams was accompanied by five other M25M trained disaster response team members. The five response vehicles were loaded with supplies to provide people with personal care products and supplies for clean-up and recovery in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes. Supplies include products from partners Procter & Gamble (P&G), Cintas, and the Duracell “Power Forward” vehicle to help provide power during restoration efforts.

“We’re loading up our team to help out with the tornadoes that affected many areas of Tennessee, Nashville and other areas,” said Williams. “We’ll take supplies down to those folks. We have products generously donated by Procter & Gamble; personal care supplies, cleaning items, baby supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, all the daily essentials we often take for granted, but such a need for the folks down there right now.”

Supplies donated by P&G and Cintas filled the M25M response vehicles headed to Tennesse (Photo by Chuck Gibson) 

Williams and the response team will also be taking first-aid and safety supplies donated by Cintas to help meet immediate health and safety needs. The vehicles are specially equipped with supplies. Their pick-up truck is used for delivery into the neighborhoods. It is equipped specially to get in and out of areas with debris, water or difficult terrain.  The Duracell truck will be loaded up with batteries to help provide power in affected areas.

 “We’ll go throughout the communities; drive street-to-street throughout the neighborhoods and assist wherever we can,” Williams said. “We do have some partners down in those locations we’ve been talking with. We’ll work with them and also work independently just doing the things we do.”

Disaster response pick-up trucks are used to deliver needed relief products to affected neighborhoods (Photo by Chuck Gibson) 

They will meet with the partners in Nashville and surrounding affected areas to discuss long-term needs. If 

there are needs for shipment of supplies to the area, M25M will coordinate shipping the necessary supplies for recovery in the long term for the communities.

“That’s the thing about Matthew 25; this is our initial response, we’re taking our team out, but the response doesn’t end here,” said Williams. “We continue to assist these areas through shipment of supplies for as long as the needs continue.”

Response vehicle loaded with P&G products followed closely behind a pick up truck in the caravan (Photo by Chuck Gibson)

The team set out on the road to Nashville early Wednesday afternoon with a feeling of concern and excited anticipation to help others in need. Upon arrival in the affected area, the team will be charged with the responsibility to transport supplies to the people in need. They will be the face, hands and feet of all the donors as they pass out the items and interact with the people.

“We’re there to be the arms of Matthew 25,” Williams said. “Not only to bring the supplies to the people who so badly need them, but to give them a sense of hope that there are people who really do care about them and what they’re going through. We’re not just down there to give them these supplies, but to give them a hug, a listening ear, whatever they need.”

The newest member of the Matthew 25: Ministries disaster response team is Patrick Otto. Still, this is not his first response with the M25M team. He has received training and support from all the members of the team on previous response efforts. He feels the importance of his role in assisting in a disaster relief effort.

“It’s exciting, it’s nerve-wracking,” said Otto. “Our goal is to help as many people as possible. I try to stay focused in on that; be service oriented, be there to help out, be there to make a difference and show people that we care.”

Tornadoes left a lot of damage in their wake. Lives were lost, and, in an instant, lives were changed. Matthew 25: Ministries Disaster Response Team began the road to recovery with a five-vehicle caravan out of Cincinnati on Wednesday, March 04, 2020. They know the several hour drive is only the beginning of what may well be a long road ahead for the people of Tennessee.  

“From what we’ve seen of the damage from afar, it looks like it’s going to be a long road to recovery,” Williams said. “We’re committed to be alongside the people there for as long as they need us.”

Disaster response coordinator Ben Williams steps into the “Batmobile” response vehicle ready to lead the M25M response team to aid Tennessee Tornado victims (Photo by Chuck Gibson) 

The “Coppertop” Duracell Power Forward response vehicle is looaded with batteries to restore power for tornado victims. (Photo by Chuck Gibson)

Find out how you can help by visiting Matthew 25: Ministries online.

Matthew 25: Ministries accepts cash, credit card and internet donations for ongoing disaster aid and humanitarian relief programs.  Donors who would like to designate their financial gifts for Tornado Relief may do so by writing “Tennessee Tornadoes” in the memo line of their check or by typing it in the “in honor of” field of our online giving form.  Please mail checks to Matthew 25: Ministries, 11060 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242.  100% of donated funds designated for Tennessee Tornadoes will be used for the purpose intended.  Matthew 25 also welcomes volunteers six days a week at their Blue Ash facility.