To help manage the generous outpouring of support for Joplin, Mo., tornado survivors, disaster recovery experts have established some simple ways to help, whether volunteering or making donations.
Along with our partners at the Missouri Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, here are some specific ways to help those impacted by the recent storms and tornadoes.
Donate or Volunteer
The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency has established a web portal to coordinate donations and volunteers. Keep in mind that cash is the preferred method because it offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover as well
Those in Missouri can also call 2-1-1 in most areas for information on volunteering their time or making a donation. This 2-1-1 service, operated by the United Way, is available through much of Missouri. For those who are out of state or unable to get through on 2-1-1, call 1-800-427-4626. Those with medical skills interested in volunteering can go online at http://www.showmeresponse.org/.
Remember, unsolicited donated goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information or referrals are urged to call 2-1-1, or 800-427-4626, or go to www.redcross.org for a list of open shelters. For individuals with a hearing loss, call 7-1-1 or use Video Relay Service to reach 2-1-1 or 800-427-4626.
Helping survivors in other states
If you or someone you know is looking for a friend or relative who may have been affected the storms, visit www.Redcross.org/safeandwell.