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Tornado Relief Image

Tornado Relief

With little or no warning, tornadoes and other severe storms can destroy communities. Please help your neighbors in areas that need vital services right now. Your gift helps those who are in need.

If you are in immediate need of tornado assistance, contact your local Salvation Army today for tornado relief and recovery. 


Tornadoes in the United States 

Tornadoes are unpredictable. Part of the reason they are so deadly is because they can come with very little warning. In 2021, tornadoes resulted in approximately 229 million U.S. dollars worth of damage across the United States. This includes damage to buildings, vehicles, and other property.  

But the real cost is not just monetary. It’s the lives lost, the homes destroyed, and the families left behind. 

Rebuilding after a tornado is very difficult because they leave such destruction in their wake. People need immediate help – shelter, food, hygiene products, and clean water for drinking and bathing –but they also need long-term support. 

The Salvation Army's Tornado Relief Efforts 

The Salvation Army’s response to any disaster in the U.S. is quick and precise. Ours are often the first boots on the ground to provide vital shelter, food, and water in the immediate aftermath of a storm, and tornadoes are no different.  

Emergency Relief

The Salvation Army partners with local and federal authorities, along with local organizations, to provide immediate emergency relief to survivors of tornadoes. Our teams go directly to the areas where tornado survivors are in need of necessities such as food, water, and basic comforts. We then also provide clean-up kits, blankets, shelter, and financial assistance to those that need supplies. If needed, we will also convert our buildings into emergency shelters.

Long-Term Recovery

Tornadoes have the power to wipe out entire communities, leaving thousands of people with no home and a long road to recovery. We are committed to providing crucial assistance to the affected areas every day until the town is back up on its feet, even if it takes months or years. In the aftermath of a tornado, and as long as we’re needed, we will not only meet the basic needs of the affected communities, but also work with municipalities and private companies on restoration and rebuilding projects, dispersing financial assistance, and donating goods to help survivors during the rebuilding process after a tornado.

Spiritual Care

Tornadoes can cause severe emotional stress and trauma to those who go through them. We are there to provide trained, professional emotional and spiritual care to those grappling with trauma from a tornado. We’re prepared to offer a hug, a prayer, a listening ear, or even counseling to aid in the recovery process. No matter what’s needed, The Salvation Army is ready to help.

Tornado Preparedness

Tornadoes are violently rotating air columns that extend down from a thunderstorm. Their spinning funnels can reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, devastating entire communities in minutes. But it's possible to stay safe in the event of a tornado. Here is how:

  • Know your area’s tornado risk. The Midwest and the Southeastern U.S. have the greatest risk of tornadoes.
  • Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, an approaching cloud of debris, or a loud roar like a freight train.
  • Sign up for your community’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) for alarms. The NOAA Weather Radio also provides emergency alerts. If your community has sirens, then become familiar with the warning tone.
  • Follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials. Stay alert to changing weather systems because a tornado can gather and strike within minutes.
  • Check and update your emergency kit and disaster plan before tornado season.
  • Go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor, such as a basement if you’re in a high-rise building.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • If outdoors, get in a vehicle and drive to the closest shelter when a tornado hits, or take cover in a stationary vehicle if possible.
  • If there’s no vehicle available for shelter or transportation, lie in an area lower than the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat, or similar item.
  • Never shelter under a bridge or overpass. It’s safer in a low, flat area.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado.
  • Be alert for flying debris, regardless of where you are sheltered.
  • Consider building a safe room inside your home or in some other structure.

We also have a disaster preparedness handbook that includes a helpful checklist for family tornado preparedness.

How To Help 

Disaster donations to The Salvation Army not only help us provide aid to tornado survivors, but also first responders giving care. Your donations also make it possible for our long-term relief efforts to help rebuild devastated communities. 

You can help us in our goal to provide tornado relief through the following means: 

Donating Money

Charitable donations help us to show communities love beyond disaster. When you donate to The Salvation Army’s emergency disaster response efforts, 100% of the proceeds go to our disaster relief operations and financial assistance for those affected. You can also donate gift cards for gas, groceries, or big-box stores which will be given to survivors of tornadoes. 

Donate Now

Donating Goods

Basic needs items are always a necessity for disaster survivors. Our locations may need different goods donations depending on the circumstance, but the most often needed for tornado survivors include: 

  • Bandanas, work gloves, and other protective clothing items
  • Bottled water and other packaged drinks
  • Boxes, barrels, and heavy-duty plastic bags (for survivors to collect their possessions)
  • Cleaning items such as rags, mops, brooms, and scrub brushes
  • Device chargers First aid kits
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Gently used or new work boots or rain boots
  • Hygiene items including soap, detergent, disinfectant, garbage bags, and hand sanitizer
  • Infant care items such as formula, diapers, and rash cream
  • Linens such as bedding and pillows
  • New undergarments such as underwear or socks
  • Nonperishable, packaged food items and snacks
  • PPE, including dust masks
  • Protective equipment such as work gloves, boots, helmets, and masks
  • Rebuilding supplies, including plastic tarps, nails, plywood, and hand tools
  • Safety equipment, including dust masks and first aid kits
  • Snacks Supplies for cleaning and rebuilding projects, including helmets, gloves, and tools
  • Toys and books to entertain children
  • Utility tools such as plastic buckets, shovels, and rakes

Please contact your local Salvation Army incident management team before collecting or trying donate these items. The local emergency disaster services team will need to establish reception and distribution plans before these items can be collected or distributed to people in need, and a surprise in-kind donation, though well-meaning, can become an increased challenge for disaster teams and personnel.

Donating Time

Becoming a volunteer is an important way to give back to communities affected by a disaster, and it is also imperative to our mission of caring for others. We rely on volunteers to help with an array of efforts, including distributing food and water, helping transport goods to our centers, or even just providing a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on for tornado survivors.  

Contact your local Salvation Army today to help survivors impacted by tornadoes. 

Press Resources
Experts for Interview

If you are a member of the media and would like to speak with one of our experts, please contact:

The Salvation Army