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The best way to offer help to the tornado victims
Friday, May 24, 2013 11:00 AM
The people of Moore, Okla., lost so much. The scenes of people emerging from storm shelters to empty blocks of leveled homes were unbelievable.
As with other major disasters in the past, the need to fill that void will be strong, as churches, service clubs and a host of the well-intentioned look to pack up supplies to help get clothes, furniture and the rest back into the victims' hands.
And as with other major disasters in the past, the relief experts are warning that acts of kindness delivered in the form of unsolicited goods often create more headaches than help.
Here's some relief effort advice, via the Purdue Extension Disaster Education Network:
If you want to help immediately, cash is generally best. Clothing and household goods are difficult for emergency responders to manage and store. But money allows them to direct help to those who need it right away - and in a way they need. There will be a number of giving opportunities, but be sure you're giving to a legitimate organization. One option for an immediate donation: Text to 90999 with the message REDCROSS to give a $10 donation.
If you're moved to volunteer, align yourself with a recognized organization that is prepared to plug itself into the recovery without getting in the way. To find where your skills might be needed, look to the Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, a national disaster-aid group. Find a list of Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster members and partners, go to www.nvoad.org/members or www.nvoad.org/partners.
And, you may call the local Red Cross or Salvation Army offices for direction on how to help. The Jefferson County Red Cross can be reached at 265-3818. The Salvation Army phone number is 265-2157.
Unfortunately, there are those who look to profit from tragedy. The Salvation Army is warning of one scam.
A robo-call from an unnamed organization is making an appeal for emergency funds for disaster relief.
The pitch included specific reference to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, with text along the lines of "The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army are on site working, and we need more funds to keep help coming."
That is not an authorized fundraising effort of either the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross.
Be compassionate, but be careful.
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