I was born, raised, and attended college in Oklahoma. You’d think that over twenty years living in a state prone to natural disasters would prepare me for the devastation I am seeing from the images coming out of Oklahoma. Years of learning how to duck and cover… to roll into a ball, covering your neck and head with your arms, in a room with no windows or furniture that can fall. Years of SEEING the devastation first hand. Years of actual loss. None of that prepared me for the images coming from my friends and family this past week.
And, it is still coming. Two days of tornados, a small day of reprieve and now today they are experiencing rain and flooding. It just doesn’t stop.
I’ve spent the last week in fear for the lives of my friends and family. Then sad at the physical loss that my friends are dealing with in the aftermath of the tornado. Upset at the loss of life that many people are trying to deal with now. It is hard to know what to say.
My home town, Shawnee, Oklahoma, was one of the first towns decimated my this year’s tornadoes. My friends lost their homes. An entire trailer park that I spent a large portion of my childhood hanging out in is now completely gone. The next day my family in Moore, Oklahoma were huddled in shelters, schools, and homes waiting out another big storm. They are now without power or water.
I am SO thankful that my friends and family made it out of this mess in one piece. Many people did not. I’m so thankful that my family did not experience any huge property loss. But, many people’s families lost everything. The people who have lost are typically those who cannot afford to lose.
I’ve seen a lot of people pouring out their support for those that have lost in Oklahoma. Please, please, please— if you are able and willing to give— give to the causes that are going to try to benefit all of those who have lost in Oklahoma… not just one town. A lot of outpouring has been going to Moore (which desperately need it) but other towns and people who have lost are not receiving that same outpouring of aid and volunteers. They too are in need.
I’m so proud to say that I am from Oklahoma. I love living here in Oregon and call Portland home now… but, Oklahoma is where my heart is and that is where it will remain.
If you are able, please give to the recovery efforts in Oklahoma. Below are some ways you can give:
- If you are in Oklahoma— Volunteers are needed in some of the other cities BESIDES Moore. Volunteers to help unload vehicles with supplies. Volunteers to help clean laundry. Volunteers to help pick up rubble. TRAINED volunteers are also needed for a variety of needs. Governor Mary Fallin wrote this today on Facebook, “CARNEY and LUTHER: Volunteers are needed in these areas. Please contact the Assembly of God Church in Carney at (405)865-2289 and Luther Town Hall at (405)277-3833 for more information and ways to get involved.”
- People lost everything— but, they currently don’t have places to store items at the moment. Basic necessities are needed. Trash bags are needed. Plastic totes are needed. But, other items are not going to be needed right away until people are finding more permanent homes. The best thing to do right now is send money or giftcards.
- Give blood. It was needed, it was used. Give blood to help pay it forward and prepare for future needs.
- Donate to the Red Cross— The Red Cross is always one of the first responders in situations like this one. You can give to the Red Cross as a whole to aid disaster relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
- Check out this great post by Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore (lives in Oklahoma) about ways to help— including some links to prints and digital downloads for the cause.
Thank you for reading. And, don’t forget about Oklahoma. They will be in recovery for some time.