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Nashville locals offer helping hand after tornado outbreak tears through city, surrounding counties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nearly one day after a devastating tornado outbreak ripped through Nashville and surrounding counties, many people were left picking up the pieces.

The series of weather events Monday night into Tuesday morning changed lives. Tennessee officials raised the death toll to 25 Tuesday night as the sunset and darkness took over the city. Thousands of people were without power including the neighborhood of Germantown near downtown Nashville.

“There was no stopping that. That just came out of the sky," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said.

However, the glimpse of utter chaos in Central Tennessee does not reveal the state’s biggest loss. At least 25 people lost their lives in the major weather disaster. In Putnam County, 80 miles east of Nashville, 77 people are still unaccounted for and more than 18 have been reported there.

“There are folks missing. We have deployed teams across the state in a search and rescue effort,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, darkness arrived when the sun went down and thousands were still without power. Near the now unfamiliar O’Riley Autoparts store Germantown, across from the rubble-filled parking lot and empty Kroger was the sound of hope through people.

“Free hotdogs! Free fries! Free chili dogs!” could be heard coming from a local food truck called Next Level Food.

“Just come down and get a drink, a hotdog, something to eat and stay warm,” said David McGee, Next Level Food truck owner.

Hot meals filled stomachs of those in need.

“You just feel happy giving back to people who need it, if it was me I hope somebody would help me the same way,” said Jermeachia Stockard, the co-owner.

Those meals filled hearts, showing that where there is darkness, there is light.

“Be a blessing back,” McGee said, encouraging people to pass the kindness forward.