Helping Moore Oklahoma -- outreach in the tornado aftermath

by Melissa Jaramillo

As a new day breaks in Moore, Oklahoma the search, rescue, and recovery efforts continue following a horrific EF-4 tornado slamming the town. In time, the rebuilding efforts will follow.

As today's world of instant news coverage combines with an outpouring of massive social media contributions from those directly impacted, people throughout the world feel more connected than ever… and share a strong desire to do "something" to help.

Searching for Loved Ones? The Red Cross has activated the "Safe and Well" website to help you reconnect.

Unbelievably, this suburb of Oklahoma City has 'been there, done that' experience with this type of devastation as an EF-5 storm leveled the city in May of 1999. What are the odds? One study shared the probability of an EF-4 or stronger tornado striking your home at 1 in 10 million. Having it happen twice -- 1 in 100 trillion (Source: Weather Decision Technologies) .

The storm of May 20, 2013 stayed on the ground for over 40 minutes ripping apart homes, schools, hospitals, businesses and most importantly, families. The tornado's path was eerily almost identical to its 1999 predecessor -- at times stretching 2 miles wide. The apocalyptic scene now being faced will once again take years of clean-up and rebuilding efforts.

Right now, however, there are immediate needs to be met. Those with 'boots on the ground' share that while food, water, clothing, and shelter is most urgent those outside of the area can be most effective by offering monetary donations directly to charitable organizations with a strong reputation in disaster relief efforts.

Below find several suggestions to consider. Always research and verify any organization before donating through a service such as Charity Navigator.

American Red Cross: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or at your local chapter. Cell phone users can send a $10 donation to the Disaster Relief fund by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.

Salvation Army: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769), or by mail. Checks may be made out to: The Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. BOX 2536, Oklahoma City, OK 73102. Please designate Oklahoma Tornado Relief on all checks. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation via your mobile phone.

Samaritan's Purse: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-528-1980, or by mail. Send donations to: Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607-3000.

United Way of Central Oklahoma: Donate online at 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.

Convoy of Hope: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-988-0664, or by mail. Send donations to Convoy of Hope, 330 South Patterson Ave, Springfield, MO 65802.

Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City Tornado Disaster Relief: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-375-8514, or by mail to Catholic Charities, 1501 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73106.

Feeding America: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-910-5524 or by mail. Download a donation form and send your check or money order payable to Feeding America, P.O. Box 96749, Washington, D.C. 20090-6749.

Operation USA: Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Cell phone users may text "AID" to 50555 and donate $10 to Operation USA’s disaster relief efforts.

As parents, we struggle to explain the unexplainable to our children. You'll find help within our article: Explaining World Tragedy to Children. Those wanting to prepare will find "When disaster strikes -- surviving tragedy with small children" useful.

To any of our members living in Oklahoma or perhaps with loved ones in the area please know our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We encourage those reading to leave a note of support and encouragement for those impacted.