Having lived through two natural disasters myself (an EF2 tornado direct hit, and a 1,000-year flood), I can almost guarantee what most Americans have been thinking since the devastating EF5 tornado hit Moore, OK, this past Monday:
- How can I help?
- What can I do to protect my own family?
So, here is my totally unsolicited advice:
Item #1--The people of Moore cannot use your cast-off clothing, kitchen utensils, outgrown bicycles, or any other item in your giveaway pile. They don't have anybody available right now to sort them and distribute them, and they don't have a place to put them (being that their homes and schools and gas stations and so forth are currently piles of rubble).
What they need right now is CASH. I don't have an opinion on where you send your money (well, of course I DO have an opinion but that's not the important part). The main thing is that right now they need survival essentials, and $10 given to any relief association will go further than it will if you take your $10 down to the local discount store to buy stuff to send to them. Just decide what part of the recovery you want to fund (food, shelter, medical assistance, animal welfare, etc.), choose an organization you trust to handle your money, and give them as much as you want. Pat yourself on the back--you just did the #1 helpful thing you can do at this point.
In case it matters to you: on the recommendation of my awesomely wonderful friend Katie Waggoner, senior pastor of Heritage United Methodist Church in Monroe, Michigan, I've sent my donation to UMCOR--United Methodist Committee on Relief. According to Katie, 100% of all donations go directly to actual relief on the ground (the administrative costs are covered by other means). No preaching or proselytizing, just direct assistance to those who have been affected. You can make a secure online donation at US Disaster Response, Advance #901670 or by calling toll-free 1-800-554-8583. To make an immediate $10 donation text RESPONSE to 80888.
Corollary to Item #1:
At this time, the city of Moore does not need people showing up on their own to help. They know their town better than we do, and unless you are a trained emergency responder, you don't have the skills they need right now. Be patient, grasshoppers--your time will come. Organized efforts will be made available for you to join in due time.
As for Item #2--I'll help you with this starting tomorrow. Post your questions about emergency preparedness, either in the comments under this post or on the Vocational Homemaker Facebook page, so I know what you are most concerned about. YOU CAN BE PREPARED. But you have to start now, while you are clear headed and have time to sort out your needs.
In the meantime, head over to my old blog, romesticity, where I published a month-long series of posts on emergency preparedness from a few years back. It might spark a few ideas that you could implement right way!