May 26, 2011

Community Supporting Recovery Efforts For Tornado-Ravished Joplin

Despite being at the opposite end of the state, Joplin was close to the hearts of Scotland County residents on Monday morning as the southeast Missouri community began recovery efforts following a massive tornado that devastated the town of 49,000.

Published reports on Monday morning put the death toll at 89 for the storm that left a path of destruction more than 1/32 a mile wide and six miles long through the town.

The local Mennonite community is mobilizing efforts to send aid to the Joplin area, with the first wave of volunteers expected to leave northeast Missouri as soon as Tuesday, May 24th.

Weaverland Disaster Services will also coordinate collection and transportation of donations to the region. Raytec and Oakwood Industries have agreed to serve as collection sites for donations of bottled water, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, and medical supplies that will be transported to Joplin.

Financial aid for the Joplin cleanup effort can be sent to the Weaverland Disaster Services, in care of Treasurer Raymond Burkholder, Jr., at RR 1 Box 70, Baring, Mo 63531.

The State Emergency Management Agency continues to work with Missouri state and local agencies to deploy all available response resources to Joplin following the deadly tornado that ripped through the city Sunday evening, May 22. Search and rescue and other emergency operations were expected to continue through the night.

Missourians interested in volunteering to assist should call (800) 427-4626 or 2-1-1. Those with medical skills interested in volunteering should go to: https://www.showmeresponse.org/.

Missourians wishing to make donations to help with the relief effort can go to http://www.sema.dps.mo.gov/recover/donations.asp or call (800) 427-4626 or 2-1-1.

The First Christian Church launched a relief program entitled Lending a Hand to Joplin. Volunteers have started a collection of relief supplies for victims of the tornado. Donations can be brought to the church basement at 320 S. Main Street. The first delivery to Joplin will be made this weekend.

Suggested donations include baby Hygiene products (all ages), baby feeding tools (bottles, sipper cups, spoons, pacifiers, bowls), bottled water, drink products (water, juice, sports drinks, coffee, tea, soda pop), canned foods and vegetables (also boxed dinners, dry food), dining products (paper plates, plastic silverware, cups), cleaning supplies (Bleach, antibacterial cleaning products), paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex, napkins), batteries (all sizes), medical supplies, feminine Hygiene products (all kinds) condiments (sugar, sweetener, cream, ketchup, mustard, Mayo, salt, pepper) bedding/blankets and bibles.

For more information contact Kim Fitzgerald (314) 494-5687, Jack Sumption (660) 216-0242 or the Church (660)465-7751.

Monetary donations are being collected to give to the College Heights Christian Church in Joplin for them to distribute and use as they coordinate relief efforts. Please make checks payable to "Memphis First Christian Church" with "Joplin, MO" in the memo line.

"We would also like to shower Joplin with cards and prayers," said Fitzgerald "We encourage children as well as people of all ages to make or sign cards to send with the supplies. Please pray for those who have been affected by the damage and destruction from the tornado."

Bring donations to the basement of the First Christian Church in Memphis to be sorted and boxed anytime over the next several weeks.

"Clean out your closets and bring donations of gently used clothing and shoes," Fitzgerald suggested. "New underwear, bras, and socks in all sizes are also needed."

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