An unprecedented December tornado outbreak inflicted devastation on a sprinkling of states in the late hours of Friday and early hours of Saturday morning – 10 and 11 December. This was something all too familiar for Nashville as there were scores of eateries damaged by the March 2020 tornado. However, once again, restaurant owners and employees stepped up to help by collecting food and donations.
The National Weather Service verified on Sunday that an outbreak of over 34 tornadoes ripped through eight states late Friday night and early Saturday morning, wreaking havoc for hundreds of miles between Arkansas and Kentucky. This was one of the longest tornado damage tracks in US history, the country’s worst tornado outbreak in over a decade, and Kentucky’s most catastrophic tornado occurrence in history.
In Tennessee, nine tornadoes were identified; the severe weather events caused felled trees, electricity lines, and other damage. Kingston Springs and Dickson were two of the most damaged towns. A transformer blew in Old Hickory, knocking out electricity to tens of thousands in Tennessee, including several Nashville eateries including Prince’s Hot Chicken’s south outlets, Sam’s at Nipper Corner, and many more. The wind caused substantial damage to McGaugh’s Donuts’ sign.
President Joe Biden has declared a federal emergency and helped as over 100 individuals are believed to be killed and dozens more are missing throughout the impacted states. Nashville and its robust hospitality sector, no strangers to catastrophe, were quick to start supplying meals for those afflicted and assisting in any way they could.
The proprietors of Red Perch promised to feed anyone in Nashville who was without power, while the Maiz de la Vida crew prepared for Vanderbilt employees who worked all night. Holly Williams, the owner of the 12 South boutiques White’s Mercantile, instantly gave $10,000 for relief and encouraged her social media followers to donate to Samaritan’s Purse.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has invited people to donate blood and has formed the Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund for donations and volunteer activities, while chef Edward Lee’s LEE Initiative and the Red Cross are also making contributions.