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The Visitor Center in downtown Franklin will serve as a drop-off location for non-perishable food items and reusable bags that will go to those affected by tornadoes across Middle Tennessee earlier this week. 

Franklin-based One Generation Away will use the donated items to set up mobile and pop-up pantries in Davidson, Wilson and Putnam counties over the coming weeks as each continues to recover. 

“Our hearts break for our friends and neighbors in Nashville, Mt. Juliet, Cookeville and all the communities across Middle Tennessee that have felt the devastation of these tornadoes,” said Visit Franklin President and CEO Ellie Westman Chin. “One Gen Away is an amazing organization that travels the country to help those in need, and we are proud to partner with them to do what we can to help our neighbors in their time of need.”

The Visitor Center is located in downtown Franklin at 400 Main St. and will accept donations through March 13. Items can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Items of greatest need include sturdy, reusable bags, bottled water, peanut butter, pop-top cans of chicken, tuna, fruits and vegetables. While cans of all kinds will be accepted, the pop-top variety is the greatest need since many of the victims may still be without conventional ovens and prepare meals in microwaves. 

If people would like to help but are unable to drop items off at the visitor center, they can make monetary contributions online at OneGenAway.com/donate. All donations marked “disaster relief” will go specifically to the efforts to support Middle Tennessee communities recovering from tornado damage.

“Our community learned a lot about relief efforts in 2010 when we went through our historic flood,” said Chris Whitney, One Generation Away founder and director. “Immediately after the disaster, aid is coming in from around the country, but in the weeks and months that follow, life will continue to go on and the need will still be there.

“That is the need we want to help fulfill. We want our friends across Middle Tennessee to know that we’ll be here to help and support them for the long haul.”

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