Viewpoint: May 4, 2011

Our hearts go out to those whose lives were turned upside down by the devastating tornadoes that ripped across seven states last week, leaving a path of death and destruction. More than 300 people were killed, two-thirds in hardest hit Alabama.

It is being called the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina, and perhaps that is why it has touched so many of us so deeply. The utter despair is all too familiar. But, with an outpouring of help and often times the kindness of strangers, we survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Now,we have an opportunity to  "pay it forward." The people of Alabama and the other states impacted, need our help. Much like after Katrina, tornado victims need basic necessities like food, clothing, medicines.

If you want to help, you should donate to the various relief agencies responding to this crisis. No donation is too small and you can typically designate where you'd like your donation to go.

The road ahead will be a challenging one for those trying to rebuild their lives. But, even the smallest act of kindest can go a long way in taking that next step.