I've lived in Florida my whole life and we talk a lot here about hurricanes, and most of us have seen the devastation a hurricane can bring. One thing that has always scared me more than hurricanes is tornadoes-- you can't predict a tornado. There are no scientific models that tell us where a tornado will land, where it will go, or how much damage it will do.
We all watched the coverage of the tornadoes in Oklahoma yesterday with our hearts broken for these poor people. The news this morning reported over 90 dead, 20 of which were children, and many more injured or still missing. Many people lost loved ones, homes, and saw everything they've ever worked for vanish in an instant. Here at home, I've heard a lot of people say, "I wish I knew of a way to help."
I found a list of great, reputable organizations that are putting relief programs together. Whether you have a little or a lot, there's something each of us can do to help the people of Oklahoma.
1) The Salvation Army is organizing disaster response units to serve hard-hit areas in central Oklahoma, including Moore, where it is sending mobile kitchens that can serve meals to 2,500 people a day, and to South Oklahoma City. Supporters can donate online via the organization's website, SalvationArmyUSA.org. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation via cellphone.
2) The Red Cross has set up shelters in various communities. You can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund here, and the organization also suggests giving blood at your local hospital or blood bank. You can also make a one-time donation of $10 by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.
3) Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief says donations to its organization will "go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters." It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief's website.
4) Through its network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America, whose mission is to "feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks," says it will deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need, in Oklahoma, and will also "set up additional emergency food and supply distribution sites as they are needed." You can donate online here.
If you know of any local groups organizing a relief effort, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add it to this list. Thank you and God bless. -Sarah