For more than I decade I worked for the American Red Cross; you name the disaster, I’ve seen it. Tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, hail, wildfire, winter storm, etc. After a severe weather incident, people want to help, but it is easy to do more harm than good when it comes to post-disaster donations.
Did you know that nonprofits on the East Coast who provided help during Superstorm Sandy are still inundated with clothing and item donations that residents don’t need (or want)?
Used clothing, home furnishings, used toys, and home goods are not conducive to disaster response and actually hinder the ability for nonprofits to support those in need. Earlier this year, NPR’s All Things Considered featured how unsolicited donations can change disaster response logistics and do more harm than good – listen here.
What you can do for Oklahoma Tornado Victims Now
Support Relief Teams – ThornCreek Church out of Denver and other organizations are sending trained volunteer teams to help families with clean up. They are looking for donations of water, Gatorade, care kits, and toiletries to send. Georgetown based Celebration Church is also headed to the disaster site.
Text to Give – texting the word “STORM” to 80888 will make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army and texting “FOOD” to 32333 will donate $10 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
The American Red Cross also accepts donations for emergency response, although you must designate your funds for use in Oklahoma to ensure they will be used appropriately.
Oklahoma City’s News9 studio is accepting trash bags, masks, cleaning supplies, gloves, hand sanitizer, and boots at their studios.
Give Blood – injured persons locally and nationally need blood and donating to your local blood bank, (which in Austin it is the Blood Center of Central Texas) can help save lives.
Austin Disaster Relief Network is a faith-based volunteer organization who has sent a disaster assessment team to support victims. Since ADRN volunteers work with victims for an extended period of time, their donation requests will vary based on the families and their needs.
Austin-business Hula Hut is collecting the following items for Oklahoma County: work gloves, sunscreen, bottled water, snacks, surgical masks, first aid kits, visa gift cards, and toiletries.
Bethany Lutheran Church is accepting diapers, canned goods, nonperishable food, hand towels, Gatorade, snacks (individually wrapped), and baby formula.