What charities are most efficient at getting dollars to victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes?
Like everyone else, our thoughts go out to those affected by the recent tornadoes in and around Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and like everyone else our first instinct was to ask what we might be able to do to help the victims of the storm. Sadly, there are many out there who will use disasters like this to take advantage of the generous nature of others and some efforts, which done with the best of intentions, ultimately don’t end up providing the help intended. So here are some tips to follow when determining how you can help most effectively.
We’ll confess, given our background in the storage industry, our first thought was to collect items like toiletries, clothing, food, etc. and truck them down to the affected areas. That’s a nice gesture, but it’s also something you shouldn’t do. Logistically, getting those donated items to the areas they might be of most use is difficult at best and could interfere with the efforts of relief/aid/cleanup/repair workers in the area. Additionally, there’s just no way of knowing if those items being collected are going to be the items most needed. The American Red Cross has even come out and stated that unless it’s a large amount of new items being donated, they’re not in a position to accept donated goods.
The adjutant general and director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli explains, “We understand everyone wants to help, and we also realize volunteers who self-deploy mean well, but they sometimes forget their presence will put a strain on food and shelter resources needed to help storm victims.”
Really, the best way to help those in need is with a financial donation. Giving money directly to those organizations working in the area is the easiest, most direct way to provide assistance. Having money in hand enables organizations to get the supplies most needed to the areas where they’re needed the most with the most efficiency.
When sending money, however, you must do your research. This is where scam artists will prey upon those who are so eager to help they don’t do all their homework. It’s best to give to national or international organizations that have set up operations in the Oklahoma City area to help. Below is a list of some of those groups and how you can make a donation toward their efforts. This is also the route we ended up going as we made a donation to the United Way of Oklahoma City.
It will be some time before Moore, Oklahoma and the surrounding area is close to being as it was before the tornado hit, but the overwhelming support flowing into the area is a testament to the giving and resilience of the human spirit and a clear indication recovery is already on its way.
RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS OPERATING IN THE AREAS AFFECTED BY THE OKLAHOMA TORNADOES:
The American Red Cross –Text REDCROSS to 90999 and $10 will be added to your phone bill as a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
There is one thing you can donate outside of money that will absolutely be put to use. The American Red Cross is in need of blood donations to serve those hurt in the affected areas. To find the American Red Cross collection point nearest you, visit www.redcrossblood.org/.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute lists daily updates about what blood types are needed immediately. Visit their website at http://obi.org/
The United Way – The State of Oklahoma has partnered with the United Way to form the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made at www.unitedwayokc.org.
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma – You can donate $10 to the food bank by texting FOOD to 32333.
The Salvation Army – Donate $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts by texting STORM to 80888. You can also donate online at www.salvationarmyusa.org.
Central Oklahoma Humane Society – People aren’t the only ones who have been displaced and affected by the storms. Help the Central Oklahoma Humane Society take care of displaced pets and reunite them with their families. Donations can be made at www.okhumane.org/.
Operation USA – This international relief group is working to set up temporary shelter for displaced persons. You can donate $10 to their efforts by texting AID to 50555.
Save the Children – Save the Children is providing medical care to children whose families have been displaced by the storm. You can donate $10 by texting TWISTER to 20222. You can also donate online at www.savethechildren.org.
Cronkleton, Robert A. (2013, May 21) How to help Oklahoma tornado victims? Donate money. The Kansas City Star.