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Major efforts under way to help Joplin citizens

The Bridge Community Church and St. Paul Lutheran Church and School have joined hands to respond to the recent disaster in Joplin. Tuesday, medical professionals from the respective faith communities headed to Joplin to provide emergency assistance to those who have been affected by the recent tornado.

“I am overwhelmed to see the community helping those who have been affected by Sunday’s tornado,” said Andy Sherrill, principal at St. Paul Lutheran School.

A group of doctors and nurses are either in Joplin or on their way from the Parkland. The medical staff on site are in need of medical supplies to help those who need treatment from the storm. Lisa Bird and a team went down immediately after the tornado. Dr. Jon Bird and a few doctors headed out today and the rest of the volunteers are going Thursday with supplies.

The group of volunteers will stay through Sunday or Monday and will be helping with the facility and helping relieve people who are tired. They will then branch out and help church members who have lost homes and help clean up some debris.

Ben Durbin, campus pastor for The Bridge and Seth Durbin are also in the band Parallax View and will be leading a youth service Saturday night and sing with some of the youth in the church. They will also be handing out some items to the community  before the service.

St. Paul Lutheran Church and School and The Bridge Community Church are also sending supplies along with a team to work with Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Martin Luther School of Joplin beginning Thursday. These churches will be accepting donations and supplies today.

“This is a neat thing happening. People from two separate churches are working together to help others. This is an opportunity to help give aid and relief while helping others,” said Ben Durbin.

These items have been specifically requested by the Immanuel Lutheran Church and Martin Luther School of Joplin: Bottled water, gallons of water, liquid formula, diapers, children’s Tylenol, pediasure,  first aid supplies, tooth brushes / tooth paste, wash cloths, soap, shampoo, deodorant, combs, gallon zip lock baggies, tarps, chainsaws (could be returned), yard tools, gloves, gas cans (cash to fill them is greatly appreciated), flashlights, kids clothing, shoes and non-perishable food items.

Donated items can be dropped off at either church or at Buckley Accounting in Ironton today. The addresses are: The Bridge Community Church  at 301 Lore Lane, Leadington, St. Paul Lutheran Church at  608 East Columbia St., Farmington and Buckley Accounting at 518 North Main St. Ironton.

For a complete list of items needed go to www.bridgelife360.com. Durbin is updating the list as he gets new information.

Raiders to the Rescue

The North County R-I School District will be sending a bus (or two) to Joplin, to assist the victims of Sunday’s tornado. The following items are needed: Food items, new toiletries and/ or personal care items, gently used clothing (please separate into gender and label bags with gender and sizes), new or gently used toys, tarps, tents, bed linens, towels and pre-packaged bottled water.

The district will be joining with parents and community members working this drive as well. Drop off locations are at each school building, as well as Extreme Hair Care in Park Hills or Bank of America on East Gannon Dr. in Festus.

Donations are accepted through Tuesday.

Drop Off Thursday

Kati Moyers and a group of area residents are donating to Mt. Hope Church of Christ which is being utilized as a shelter for the homeless, volunteers, and medical staff. 

They are going to have a drop zone on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the parking lot between Walgreens and White Castle. They are collecting all items, except adult clothing.  They need personal hygiene, toiletries, feminine products, snacks, bottled water and baby items are the most requested by the church. 

They are also taking cash or check donations at Al Schweiss State Farm Insurance on Karsch Blvd. until Friday at 5 p.m.

They will be dropping the items off in Joplin with a U-Haul on Monday to help the tornado victims.  If you have any questions, please contact Kati Moyers at 573-512-1246 or katimoyers@me.com.

The tornado

The scene around much of the Joplin area is one of destruction and devastation.

A severe storm pushed through the area and a tornado that tore a 6-mile path across southwestern Missouri, to date killing 116 people and injuring 400. This twister was the single deadliest tornado to strike the U.S. since a June 1953 tornado in Flint, Mich., which killed 116, according to the National Weather Service.

A state of emergency has been declared and the National Guard has been activated to assist with the clean up efforts.

If you would like to help the victims of the Joplin tornado there are a number of different ways to do it.

Donations

The American Red Cross set up a page for Missouri tornado and flood relief.

The Joplin Red Cross could use donations. You can contact them at (417) 624-4411 in order to find out what is needed.

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has set up a donation page.

A list of major non-profits that operate regularly in Missouri can be found on the National Donations Management Network website. You can also call (800) 427-4626 for further information.

The Missouri Interfaith Disaster Response Organization is taking donations for long-term recovery efforts.

The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is in need of blood — particularly type O. A list of donation sites can be found here.

Volunteering

2-1-1 Missouri is helping organize volunteers in the affected areas. More information can be found by calling (800) 427-4626.

Nurses or doctors looking to help can call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the Red Cross.

Health professionals can register to volunteer through the Show-Me Response website.

Animal rescue

For those in the Joplin area: Emergency Pet Center of the Four States at 7th & Illinois near the Sonic is open and accepting found/injured animals. Their phones are down at this time.

The “Animals Lost & Found from the Joplin, Mo tornado” Facebook page is tracking lost and found pets.

Safety Information

The National Americorp Volunteers is setting up a national hotline for residents to call to check on loved ones. The number is (417) 659-5464.

The American Red Cross has set up a site on which you can check in, report on the safety of others, or look for information on loved ones.

The “Joplin people accounted for after the storm” Facebook page is helping people track loved ones who fell out of touch during the storm.

The St. John’s Health System has been updating its Facebook page regularly with information relevant to the aftermath of the storm.

Other efforts

The recently organized “Joplin Volunteer & Outreach Station” Facebook page appears to be focused on aiding relief efforts.

The “Joplin Tornado Citizen Checks (neighbors helping neighbors!)” Facebook page appears to be a gathering place for many Joplin locals who are in need of aid or able to provide aid to others.

The “Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery” Facebook page is one of the larger ones dedicated to aid efforts and contains a great deal of up-to-the-second information on where help is necessary.

As always be aware that there are individuals who may attempt to take advantage of tragic situations such as this. Do some research before you decide to donate to an organization. A good tool to use is Charity Navigator, a service that has information on more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations.

Other organizations collecting for the victims are: The Classroom, 1573 Ste. Genevieve Ave., Farmington, Drop off items before Thursday, Call 573-747-8199 for information: Crown Motors, 970 E. Woodlawn Dr., Farmington and A Few Of Your Favorite Things, 37 School St., Bonne Terre.

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