The Oklahoman, NewsOk.com

A teacher hugs a child at Briarwood Elementary school after a tornado destroyed the school in south Oklahoma City, Monday, May 20, 2013.

By Suzanne Choney, Contributing Writer, NBC News

The loss of life and stunning devastation in Oklahoma City suburbs after a monster tornado ripped through the area are heart-wrenching. “The streets are just gone. The signs are just gone,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, after she toured the area by helicopter Tuesday. And many, many relief organizations are getting the message out on how to help.

American Red Cross
The Red Cross has set up shelters in various communities. You can donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund here, and the organization also suggests giving blood at your local hospital or blood bank. Fundraising efforts were buoyed Tuesday by a $1 million pledge from Kevin Durant, of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, via his family foundation.

If you’re searching for a missing relative, check Red Cross Safe & Well’s site. And please register if you’re within the disaster region. The site is designed to make communication easier after a tragedy like this.

If you want to send a $10 donation to the Disaster Relief fund via text message, you can do so by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999. As in the case with other donations via mobile, the donation will show up on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your balance if you have a prepaid phone. You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission, to donate this way. (If you change your mind, text the word STOP to 90999.)

The Red Cross also accepts frequent flier miles as donations. Delta, United Airlines and US Airways partner with the Red Cross throughout the year, which uses miles to help get volunteers and staff to key locations during disasters. (Note: The donation is not tax-deductible as the IRS considers it a gift.) For Delta, email: delta.bids@delta-air.com with your SkyMiles number, the number of miles you want to donate, and specify the Red Cross as the charity. You can donate miles online at United Airlines Donate Your Miles and US Airways Dividend Miles.

Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575; for TDD, 1-800-220-4095.

OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund
The state of Oklahoma, coordinating with the United Way of Central Oklahoma, on Tuesday established the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund to help “with the long-term medical, emotional and educational needs of victims of the May 20 tornado in Moore and the May 19 tornado near Shawnee.”

Donations can be made online at UnitedWayOKC.org.

Phone: 1-405-236-8441.

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, working with the Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, is seeking monetary donations. To donate, visit the regional food bank’s website, or give $10 by texting the word FOOD to 32333.

Phone: 1-405-972-1111

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
This organization says donations will “go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters.”

It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief’s website.

You can send checks to: BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is organizing disaster response units to serve hard-hit areas in central Oklahoma, including Moore, where it is sending mobile kitchens that can serve meals to 2,500 people a day, and to South Oklahoma City.

In Little Axe, Okla., the organization said, the army’s Central Oklahoma Area Command Disaster Service Unit was busy feeding breakfast, lunch and dinner to people, “even as one of our Salvation Army family member’s home was destroyed.”

Supporters can donate online via the organization’s website, SalvationArmyUSA.org. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation via cellphone.

If you want to send a check, the Salvation Army asks that you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK., 73157.

Phone:  1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

Feed the Children
Feed the Children has set up five locations in Oklahoma City to accept donations to help victims of the Moore tornado. The organization is accepting items including diapers, canned goods, non-perishable food, snack items, water and sports drinks. The organization is also supporting mobile canteens in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.

You can donate online, or make a $10 donation by texting the word DISASTER to 80888.

Phone:  1-800-627-4556

United Way of Central Oklahoma
A disaster relief fund is being activated as of May 21 so that individuals can specifically donate to tornado relief-and-recovery efforts, the organization says on its site.

“Financial contributions are the best way to help unless otherwise requested.” Donations can be made online at

United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open.  Donations may be made online here. Checks, with a notation of “May Tornado Relief” can also be sent to the United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK , 73101.

Feeding America
Through its network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America, whose mission is to “feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks,” says it will deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need, in Oklahoma, and will also “set up additional emergency food and supply distribution sites as they are needed.” You can donate online here.

Phone: 1-800-910-5524.

Operation USA
The international relief group, based in Los Angeles, says it is “readying essential material aid — emergency, shelter and cleaning supplies” to help Oklahoma’s community health organizations and schools recover.

You can donate online here. You can also give a $10 donation by texting the word AID to 50555. Checks should be sent to: Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone: 1-800-678-7255.

Convoy of Hope
The Missouri-based nonprofit organization has done work in other disasters, including the Haiti earthquake, with a mission of getting food and water to those after disaster strikes. Now it’s doing the same for Moore, Okla. You can donate online here. Convoy of Hope is also going the crowd-sourced route, using HopeMob, a site similar to Kickstarter but for raising money to help disaster victims and others in need, which charges no fees to the organizations that use it. Convoy of Hope’s goal on the site is to raise $15,000 in seven days to help Moore.

“Why 7 days? In these first 7 days the town of Moore, OK will be consumed with clearing out destruction and accessing their needs,” HopeMob says on its site. “Once those needs are known we want to be able to give them the funds to help them rebuild in the long term.”

Phone: 1-800-988-0664

 

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Oklahoma tornado: How to find people, pets

Google

Google’s Crisis Response Center provides information and compiles resources to aid tornado survivors and their loved ones.

By Rosa Golijan

In the aftermath of one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history, many are desperately trying to reach loved ones in areas affected by the disastrous event. Google and the Red Cross are helping confirm the safety of tornado survivors, while the Oklahoma Humane Society and Reddit users band together to take care of missing pets.

Google Crisis Response Center and Person Finder
Google has set up a Crisis Response Center page on which it provides shelter information, weather reports, public alerts and links to a variety of resources to aid those in or around the towns of Moore, Newcastle and southern portions of Oklahoma City. The search giant has also enabled the Google Person Finder tool at a plain and simple-to-use site for sharing and gathering information about those missing after the tornado. The tool was originally created after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

 As with previous versions of the tool, all someone needs to do is enter as much of a person’s name as he or she knows and Google will provide any related information — including last known location, physical descriptions, last reported status and messages left by those searching for the individual.

Those seeking to add information to the database will need to provide the full name of the individual they’ve got information about, as well as their own names and e-mail addresses.

 

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