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William's Cause For Tornado Relief

Organized by: William Eide

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January 23, 2017

Due to the massive tornado outbreak this past weekend, we need your help! Several states have extensive damage: loss of property and loss of See More

THE STORY:

It started the early morning of April 27th, 2011. Schools had just started closing and the sky was eerie. Already, tornadoes had hit in North Alabama. Storms were rolling through Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Meteorologists had warned the weather would be rough in the afternoon. Little did we realize just how rough it would be.

The tornado sirens began blaring around 4:35 for our area. Once in my grandparents' basement, we turned the television on to a local station and that's when we heard frightening news. The tornado was headed straight for us. We huddled up under the stairs and prayed. We lost power and could hear the beginnings of torrent winds preceding the storm. My uncle called from across town and warned us to stay put until he called back. He gave us very sobering news. "I can see it on the ground. It's massive and it's ...it's bad! There is nothing left in the tornado's path."

We were given the all-clear and it was dark, but sounds rampant. The tornado had taken a turn, thus sparing our properties and more importantly, our lives. The tornado missed my house by 1/3 of a mile. I was so incredibly thankful to God for protecting us. I knew I wanted to bless others: the youngest of storm victims. I wanted to help heal the children's hearts and let them know I cared.

While at home I saw a stuffed animal and immediately knew how I was going to help them. With my Mom's help we gathered up 46 of my own stuffed animals (Mom's into hallmark holidays, ya know) and we went to the area closest hit to where we lived. The area was massacred; as if a huge meteor had hit, decimating everything. The first place we stopped had only the cement steps existing. 2 children sat on the steps and their Mom stood beside them, crying. I asked if I could give them a teddy bear and she nodded. We gave them sack lunches, too. We continued through the area until I had given way every last teddy bear.

That first day was the most pivotal moment in my life. I knew I had made a difference in the lives I met. Family and friends joined in donating stuffed animals, so I could continue my mission to help as many children as possible. Word of mouth brought the businesses and public's interest to help. It's been over 5 years...since the F4 tornado hit our beloved city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and its surrounding areas. Today I continue to not only help children and their families here in the State of Alabama, but nationwide. To date, we've delivered over 15,000 stuffed animals.

I aspire to make Operation Teddy Bear-Tuscaloosa a full fledged 501(c)3 Not for profit charity. The funds generated from this fundraiser will help pay for my IRS Federal filing fee of $850 and the operating costs of running Operation Teddy Bear-Tuscaloosa. (My tornado relief effort is a recognized State of Alabama charity.)

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William Eide

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