Aid heads to Oklahoma

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

As crews in Oklahoma continue their efforts to find missing persons and attend to those injured by the string of deadly tornadoes that tore through the state this week, officials with Atmore’s Red Cross say people in this community can help the victims right now.
“Right now they need money,” Red Cross Director Joan Hackman said Tuesday, the day after the deadliest of the storms.
“The bottom line right this minute is people need money. People are on the ground and shelters are open. But Red Cross workers need money to feed victims and to help with psychological relief.”
Some local churches are already beginning to gather donations that could ease the stress and trauma being experienced by families who have lost everything.
First Assembly of God Church in East Brewton is taking financial donations to be sent to Oklahoma’s hardest hit following Monday’s storms.
“People can help the Oklahoma tornado victims with an offering at the church,” Pastor Jeff Scurlock said. “All donations will be forwarded to the Convoy of Hope.”
Scurlock said those wishing to make a donation should mark their payments for “OK Relief” in order to be channeled in the proper direction.
Hackman said she knows Alabama residents will want to do what is possible in order to help Oklahoma’s victims, especially with the devastating April 25, 2011 tornado in Tuscaloosa fresh on the minds of many.
“The thing is we all seem to know somebody there or nearby,” Hackman said. “At this point, people can text Red Cross to give a $10 donation. They can also donate by phone at 1-800 Red Cross.”
Toomers for Tuscaloosa, a charity organization, has also made arrangements to organize drop-off collection sites as well as channeling funds to those who need them the most following the disaster.
TFT administrators say Walmart and Target gift cards are most useable following such a disaster, as is money. Gift cards, checks or other financial contributions can be sent to Journey Church, P.O. Box 722764, Norman, OK 73070.
Hackman said local residents can also drop off monetary donations at the local Red Cross office on Douglas Avenue just north of Brewton City Hall.
Hackman added that if no one is present at the Red Cross office, donations may be left in the mailbox or slid under the door in sealed packages marked, “Oklahoma.” She said all checks should also be marked, “Oklahoma,” or “Oklahoma Relief” on the memo line.
“I will open and acknowledge every single gift,” she said.
Considering the massive amounts of food and relief items sent to Tuscaloosa in 2011, Hackman said she knows people will also be anxious to donate those materials, but said, for now, monetary donations are what is needed.
“I know other kinds of items will be needed,” she said. “We’re just not there yet.”
For more information on how to donate to the Oklahoma tornado relief fund, call the American Red Cross chapter at 867-3426.