Ways to help Oklahoma

Buzz Staff l Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tornados swept through the suburbs of Oklahoma City on Monday (20May13), leaving more than 50 people dead and flattening homes and schools. At least 20 children are among those to have died in the tragedy, many of those students at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, who were killed by falling debris when the storm ripped through the building. At least 145 people are believed to have been hospitalized in the area.


Relief efforts are underway. Right now, the best way to help the victims is a donation to major relief organizations.

Here is a list of organizations that are accepting donations:

American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: Visit their website to donate or You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to immediately donate $10 to the Red Cross Disaster Fund.

Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575; for TDD, 1-800-220-4095.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief: The Oklahoma Baptist Convention says says donations will "go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters." For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief's website.

You can send checks to:
BGCO
Attn: Disaster Relief
3800 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK. 73112.

United Way of Central Oklahoma
A disaster relief fund is being activated as of May 21 so that individuals can specifically donated to tornado relief-and-recovery efforts, the organization says on its site.

"Financial contributions are the best way to help unless otherwise requested." Donations can be made online at

United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open.  Donations may be made online here. 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.

Salvation Army - The Salvation Army is deploying mobile kitchens that can serve to 2,500 people a day. donate via their website. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation from your mobile phone.

You can also donate to the Salvation Army via check: Put the words "Oklahoma Tornado Relief" on the check, and mail to:
The Salvation Army
P.O. Box 12600
Oklahoma City, OK. 73157.
Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

Feeding America - Feeding America says it utilize its 200 foodbanks to deliver food and supplies. Visit their website for details on how you can help

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma - Text the word FOOD to 32333 to donate $10 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

Direct Relief 
The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based, non-profit organization provides medical assistance and personal hygiene items to those hurt in disasters, as well as in other circumstances.

"So far we have heard from health center partners responding in Oklahoma and are preparing an emergency shipment to help support the efforts there.  Direct Relief has been receiving requests for emergency supplies, personal care and protection items — including hygiene supplies, infection control products, gloves, soap, shampoo, deodorant, sanitary napkins, diapers, wipes and formula," said Kerri Murray, Direct Relief vice president, in an email.

To donate, visit DirectRelief.org.

Phone: 1-800-676-1638

 

DonorsChoose.org

 DonorsChoose.org is creating a special online fund to collect donations for the teachers and schools of Moore, Okla., to help respond and rebuild. Donors Choose will work with the teachers of Moore to assess what they need for their classrooms and allow them to identify the real-time solutions and supplies their community and their students need: everything from clothing for their students to first-aid kits. 

To donate, visit www.donorschoose.org


 

And a note of caution ...

Emotions are running high, understandably, in light of the awful news from Oklahoma. Many of us want to help in some way. But this vulnerable time is also rife with and ripe for scammers who want to prey on your emotions and wallet. They may seek you out via email, knock on your door, or even try to get you to give money via Facebook. 

The Federal Trade Commission has guidelines about charity donations, including these tips:

  • Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in connection with current events, like the bombing.
  • Ask if a caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer — or if you don’t like the answer you get — consider donating to a different organization.
  • Don’t give out personal or financial information — including your credit card or bank account number — unless you know the charity is reputable.
  • Never send cash: you can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes.
  • Check out the charity with the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting theNational Association of State Charity Officials.