How to help fire victims

Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 10:30pm

The fires at the Hickory Woods and Chimney Top apartment complexes left dozens of Metro Nashville Public Schools students displaced. There were 21 school-aged children at Hickory Woods alone.

The schools themselves became clearinghouses for donations for the affected families.

They aren’t asking necessarily for school supplies, which might seem counterintuitive at first. But the fires occurred during school hours, so for the most part, the kids have what they need to learn.

But they are asking for anything else you can give.

Tusculum Elementary (4917 Nolensville Road) and McMurray Middle (520 McMurray Drive) are serving as point places for donations, but items can be brought directly to the main office of Hickory Woods at 5319 Nolensville Road. The manager’s office is on the main street of the complex.

Chimney Top management is also accepting donations at the complex’s clubhouse, at 100 Chimneytop Drive off Bell Road in Hickory Hollow.

With the displaced families relocated to previously vacant apartments, furniture, televisions, beds and bedding are needed. Clothing and gift cards are especially helpful, as are canned goods (and can openers).

A lot of help has already come.

Second Harvest Food Bank jumped into action, delivering 200 boxes of food to McMurray Middle on the day after the fires.

The American Red Cross immediately provided services and is accepting targeted monetary donations at its website, www.nashvilleredcross.org.

Because the apartments were home to a number of immigrant families, Metro schools used nearly all of its translators in the days after the fire to help coordinate relief efforts. Metro Schools Family Services Coordinator Jane Walling described the post-fire scene as “United Nations deluxe.”