When the water rises on the banks and in the streets, Nashvillians rise to the occasion.
Powerful, drawn-out storms piled up around 7 inches of rainfall over two days through the weekend, killing four, damaging property, displacing residents and knocking out power for thousands.
Over the coming days, with downed lines, washed-out vehicles along the road, damaged buildings and community members without shelter, there will be plenty everyone can do to chip in.
Volunteer efforts in Nashville are being coordinated between the city, Hands on Nashville, Community Resource Center Nashville, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross and will network with numerous smaller operations.
Those in need of immediate assistance can call the Nashville flood crisis helpline at 615-244-7444 or visit nashvilleresponds.com/assistance.
To check volunteer opportunities as they are rolled out over the coming days and weeks as areas become safe to work in, watch hon.org and "Hands on Nashville" on social media. The organization is actively recruiting.
Additionally, CRC will maintain an Amazon wish list (bit.ly/CRC-Nashville) at http://crcnashville.org.
"Our neighbors are awesome, and they will start taking care of the people around them that have been impacted," Nashville CRC Executive Director Tina Doniger said.
CRC is also accepting contactless donations of items needed for recovery and cleanup at 218 Omohundro Place in Nashville, where a few workers had already gathered Sunday afternoon to accumulate and sort.
"Our first responders are going to need food, Gatorade, those kinds of things to keep on working. Our debris removal is going to be rakes, shovels, tarps, trash cans and liners," Doniger said. "Looking at our survivors (it) is going to be blankets, clothing, tents, tarps and sleeping bags because of the variety of people that have been impacted in the area."
Monetary donations can be made via Venmo at @crcnashville.
Huge cardboard boxes and pallets lay waiting to be filled with donated items while a trio of workers awaited further direction from the city Sunday afternoon and an influx of volunteers. It's a scene mirrored at CRC's warehouse, and a situation with which workers are all too familiar.
"It looks exactly like 2010. In 2010 we actually lost this building, so we've lived through it once," Doniger said about the 2010 Nashville flood. "Certainly 2020 prepared us to handle whatever is being thrown at us. We worked the tornado, through a pandemic, ultimately the bombing on Christmas and the winter storm of 2021 already.
"This is what we do every day. We just don't necessarily operate in a disaster relief situation every day, but we funnel goods into nonprofits that need them for communities that are at risk and populations that have fallen through the cracks. We step up to fill that role even more so when it comes to disaster and serve our neighbors well."
With only a tiny staff mobilized, but a city full of potential volunteers to draw from, the CRC will do its part as time rolls on, including cleanup efforts.
"When we start the cleanup process you'll see us with box cutters, work gloves, eyeglasses and things like that to make sure they're safe as they're removing wet carpet, drywall, things like that," Doniger said.
Though some were running on only coffee and heart the morning after the storm, all that mattered was the tough tasks that lay ahead.
"For us it's a calling," Doniger said. "It's not a job, it's a calling."