How can you best help in a disaster?
- Send money.
- Do not send clothes or supplies.
- Check with state or local government for lists of donation needs. For Oklahoma, start with the State of Oklahoma donation page.
- Don’t go there to volunteer until you find an organization that has a specific need for you.
- Consider volunteering in one of the small towns or rural areas around the main disaster.
- Consider volunteering in the weeks and months that follow.
My friend Pamela Gould sent me some thoughts from her work during a disaster recovery. I wanted to share them with you. –Becky
By Pamela Gould
Before my kids, before moving back to Hutch, I lived in Mississippi. I lived through a monster hurricane. I volunteered through Mennonite Disaster out of Newton, Ks. (even though I was in Miss.) My assignment was to help Salvation Army efforts.
So for a month, 14 hr days, I was a volunteer for Salvation Army, in a city w/ martial law. You had to carry a permit to be on the streets. (Yes, that means men in the streets and on street corners and seemingly everywhere with big guns. Very disconcerting.) I made 1000s of sandwiches, served food & sorted clothing.
It was very sad working on the clothes detail. Clothing in ceiling-high piles when a building was available. But most were in makeshift tent lean-tos. Some piled in the open. Anything wet, which was a lot, just got loaded into trucks and hauled to trash-receiving locations. Shoes were rarely saved because the other halves of the pairs couldn’t be found. There were never enough workers.
Yes, families needed clothing. Some agencies only deal in this need and have a procedure for distribution already in place.
Very important, water was hauled in, mostly by companies.
Items that were in demand were personal hygiene items.
There was a tremendous need for disposable diapers.
Gatorade was appreciated.
What they didn’t have then but do now are the mobile laundry trucks. These are on location in Moore OK now.
So if you want to help in the disaster area, contact established organizations & discuss the options. If you want to donate, contact those at the official designated drop-off points. Area television stations will have this information.
Our hearts tell us we need and should help those who are suffering.
Family to family.
Giving back people’s dignity and their ability to provide for their families is so very important.
The photo of clothing comes from Patsy Terrell who has been to many active disaster areas while doing media work. She also added her thoughts.
By Patsy Terrell
Remember the other day when I said please don’t send clothes to disaster areas – this is why. They have to go somewhere. People have to sort them. They end up being out because structures are destroyed in disasters. Then it rains, like it did last night. Now it’s not just a mess, but a soggy mess. Please, send money. It’s portable. It can do whatever is needed. Also, please don’t self-deploy to help. I know it’s only for the best of reasons, but the wave of volunteers are the second disaster. Contribute to and volunteer for established organizations who are trained in disaster relief. Moore will still need help six weeks from now and six months from now. Please remember them. Your efforts will go further and do more good!
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Becky McCray says
Catherine Sak, with the Texas Downtown Association asked her sister, with Catholic Charities, for some of the places that accept used clothing that’s been donated.
Clothing XChange, run by Charity Shoes & Clothing out of Dallas:
This for-profit organization was mentioned specifically for paying organizations for donated clothes. The organizations can then use the funds to buy gift cards specifically for new clothing.
They also found some other options of wholesale used clothing buyers:
Bank & Vogue
Sort & Export Co.
Thanks for the info, Catherine!