A huge tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday and earlier tornadoes devastated communities across the Central U.S. As I was watching the news last night and today, scanning my Twitter feed for the latest information, all I can think is, “How can I help?”
First off, you can help the most by staying put. Don’t get in the way of first responders by going to the disaster zone. Let the professionals do their jobs. Give a police officer or firefighter in your local community a hug and tell them “thank you” from all of us. The time for putting together teams of colleagues and friends to go rebuild homes will come later.
Secondly? Don’t send clothes, shoes, canned food, etc. It’s brutal, but true. Raiding your closet and donating last season’s t-shirts or looking in your pantry and giving a two-year-old can of beans are not what people need right now. Instead, be part of a coordinated, efficient emergency response.
Donating smart means a cash donation to a reputable organization. Donate to a group that has experience in responding to disaster. Donate to a charity that will use your cash donation to buy the supplies and expertise on-the-ground to help the most people in the most efficient way possible. Donate to a group that will leverage your donation NOW. Donate to someone you trust.
You can donate to CWS online here: www.cwsglobal.org/oklahoma and 100 percent of your donation will go towards CWS emergency and recovery efforts following the tornadoes. Or you can text RESPOND to 50555 to give a $10 donation and 100 percent of what you give will go to help survivors of disaster (Terms: mGive.org/T).
You can also get your neighbors, church or any other group together to assemble CWS Kits. CWS Kits include items for personal hygiene, baby care or children's schooling. They can be assembled from common items available at most stores. You can find out more at www.cwsglobal.org/kits. These are the supplies that people who have lost everything can actually use.
We want to help. Today, we are thinking how easily this disaster could have happened to us, to our families. We want to do something. Take that impulse, I say, and run with it. Just be smart about it. Tell your friends and family you are giving and why. Get your community involved and make a real impact. In the end, you’ll do an awful lot of good.
Angela Rupchock-Schafer, Social Media Manager, CWS