This Facebook Group is Helping Tornado Victims Find Lost Items and Pets
On Friday, Dec. 10 a swath of at least 50 tornadoes ravaged six states across the Midwest and South. The tornado seemed to indiscriminately devour everything in its path. Yet, it's amazing what can stand in a storm. For example, an unscathed Christmas tree with presents carefully tucked underneath remained in a home that had its entire front wall ripped off. Family photos that should easily have been ripped to shreds were swept up by 155 mile-per-hour winds and transported across state lines up to 130 miles away.
A Facebook group formed after the deadly storms is now trying to reunite tornado victims with their lost possessions. Since forming earlier this week, the Quad State Tornado Found Items Facebook group has amassed more than 57,000 followers and resulted in hundreds of items and pets being returned to their rightful owners.
Kim Tyler, who started the group, said she got the idea after remembering news reports about photos and memorabilia being found all over Alabama after the 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa.
"I could only imagine with this tornado occurrence, the strength and amount of area that was in the path, how far items were taken in the tornadoes," she told Southern Living. "So that lead me to create the group."
Old photographs are the most posted item but everything from a locked safe to a pair of child's scissors, scraps of handwritten letters, clothing, and stuffed animals have also been posted. In one instance, a basketball commemorating a girl named Emily's one-thousandth shot found its owner after being posted on the page for less than five minutes. Other items like a family's heirloom quilt that's been shared more than 13,000 times are still waiting to be claimed.
In addition to lost photographs and household items, the page is also helping to reunite lost pets with their owners. Two pinned posts allow people to post found pets and owners to report missing pets.
For families who lost everything to the tornado, the group is providing a glimmer of hope that they'll be able to recover small but priceless pieces of their lives—one school portrait or family vacation snapshot at a time.