Coffee shop helping tornado victims find precious memories lost in the storm

Posted at 3:48 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 20:47:31-05

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A coffee shop in downtown Cookeville is collecting pictures found on other people’s property after Tuesday’s deadly tornado in hopes of one day giving back to the owners.

Anna Askins-Dunn is the owner of Soul Craft Coffee and a Cookeville native. Her friend, who works with with Art Round Tennessee, brought in a small box to the shop as a way for people to bring pictures they found.

“A lot of these are being found miles and miles away from their original homes,” Askins-Dunn told NewsChannel 5. “We even found things from Mt. Juliet.”

So far more than 20 pictures, one as old as 80 years old, are filling up the box. She hopes someone will recognize the pictures and find a home again.

“We can’t rebuild their homes, we can’t bring their family back but we can do these little things,” she said.

Askins-Dunn is doing this as she herself remembers Jessica Clark, a friend since high school and customer killed in the EF-4 tornado. She last saw Clark last Friday and would see her at least once a week. Askins-Dunn described her as someone who had a loving soul.

“She’s just a testament of light and kindness and anyone who met her know she was an amazing human,” she explained. “She was just kind to everyone and was a ray of sunshine.”

The pictures collected will be a part of First Friday at the coffee shop on Friday night. Artists will also be their to sell their own work to benefit the community.

Employees will take pictures of the photos they collected to post on the Facebook page Found In The Storm: Putnam County Tornado. Countless people have been sharing pictures and personal belongings found outside their home.