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Joplin Tornado Disaster Creates Donation Dilemma

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SkyNews6 flies over the damage in Joplin, Missouri, earlier this week. SkyNews6 flies over the damage in Joplin, Missouri, earlier this week.
Food supplies are ready to be loaded onto a truck. Food supplies are ready to be loaded onto a truck.
A little girl puts her donation in a box that will be sent to Joplin, Missouri. A little girl puts her donation in a box that will be sent to Joplin, Missouri.

Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma's own are famous for their giving spirit and their desire to help when bad things happen to people anywhere.  But, experts in disaster relief say our gifts should be appropriate as well as timely to be sure folks on the receiving end can use what we give.

5/23/2011 Related Story: How To Help Joplin Residents Devastated By Sunday's Deadly Tornado

Those who survived the devastating tornado in Joplin need lots of help now and will continue to need it for some time to come, but they don't need it all at once.

"What are the immediate needs?" Bryan Intemann said.

Bryan Intemann is the Missions Minister at First Baptist church in Tulsa. He's contacted the Baptist relief network and has emailed a specific short list of items to church members and they are responding.

The list they sent out included work gloves wipes towels, bottled water, packaged snacks, and things that can be used right away.

"A short list of tangible items that could be used in the next 72 hours or so, and we are specifically targeting those needs," Intemann said.

Susan Dornblaser went to Sam's Club and said and everyone in line seemed to buying from the same list.

"Water supplies, oranges things to send to Joplin it was really cool," she said.

It always is to see the generous response to people in need, but…

"There is a time and place for every kind of donation," Donita Quesnel said.

The Red Cross has been conducting disaster relief operations for a long time and say cash donations always permit organizations on the ground to buy what's needed most.

There is no shortage of desire. We at News on 6 have been contacted by many organizations and individuals who want to help. Just be sure what you donate can be used by the people who need it most.

The city of Joplin, Missouri has established the following phone numbers for people interested in donating their time or items to aid in the recovery effort:

  • Individual volunteers wanting to donate their time should call 417-625-3543
  • Volunteers wanting to donate items can call 417-625-3542
  • Volunteer groups (churches, businesses, etc.) should call 314-623-9991

Some of the tasks available to volunteers are:

  • clean up of debris in the neighborhoods;
  • search lines to locate victims;
  • hospitality volunteers to work on campus at MSSU assisting first responders and fellow volunteers;
  • a crew to help clean the police and fire building located at 303 E Third;
  • volunteers to work at City Hall and assist residents and businesses with completing the FEMA disaster assistance application;
  • sorting debris once it has been collected

Volunteers who wish to assist with clean-up efforts will continue to be staged and dispatched from the recreation center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University 3950 Newman Road in Joplin.

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