Find out how you can help those affected by the storm.

By Meghan Overdeep
June 24, 2021
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Tropical Storm Claudette
Credit: GoFundMe

Tropical Storm Claudette left a deadly trail of destruction along the Gulf Coast last week, injuring residents and damaging homes.  

The storm, which brought dangerous driving conditions to Alabama, is being blamed for at least 13 deaths, including the 10 people (nine of them children) who lost their lives in a vehicle crash on Interstate 65 near Greenville. Claudette also spurred tornadoes and flash-floods that destroyed dozens of homes.

Given the scope of the disaster and the outpouring of support from the community, GoFundMe has launched a centralized hub featuring fundraisers specifically for those impacted by Claudette. The fundraisers have all been verified and are backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, ensuring all funds on the page will go to those directly affected by the storm.

Among the verified fundraisers is one in honor of the eight children who were killed when the van they were traveling in was involved in the fiery multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 65.  The GoFundMe is raising money to help with funeral related expenses, medical costs for the injured, and counseling for the others involved.

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The van, containing children ages 4 to 17, belonged to the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch, a youth home for abused and neglected kids, operated by the Alabama Sheriffs Association. The van was heading back to the ranch near after a week at the beach in Gulf Shores. Ranch director Candice Gulley, the van's only survivor, was pulled from the flames by a bystander.

"This is the worst tragedy I've been a part of in my life," Michael Smith, the youth ranches CEO, told the Associated Press.

Two of the dead in the van were Gulley's children, ages 3 and 16, and two were her nephews, ages 12 and 8.

At time of publication, the fundraiser for Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch had exceeded its $500,000 goal by more than $13,000.

More fundraisers will be added to the hub as they are created.