22 May 2013

Hump Day Herald: Helping OKC

The source of all the excitement. Image credit: Wesley Fryer.
In light of the tornadoes that obliterated Moore, OK on Monday, many of us have undoubtedly felt the urge to open our hearts and wallets to help our fellow countrymen. Similar to the tornado that hit Joplin, MO two years ago, monies are flowing and aid groups are definitely headed over to help. While it'd be great if we could all troop over the help clean up, an influx of people into an area with compromised infrastructure probably isn't what they need.

Instead of travel, most of us will probably give a donation of some sort. Clothes, shoes, food, etc. often come pouring in during times like these. Check your local donation center, though, to see what they say. Often, transportation and storage of a bunch of old Super Bowl XXVI t-shirts turns out to be less of a help than it seems. However, don't let that discourage you from donating if that's all you have. They often can sell the stuff locally and send the money to the disaster area where they can then best use it for what they immediately need.

If you decide to go the money route, you would certainly not be happy to find out that your donation was supporting the executives' noon coffee break instead of actually getting to the field. You want to make sure that your contributions are reaching the intended recipients, in this case the residents of Moore. To that end, Charity Navigator is a website (and I'm sure there are several similar ones) that ranks non-profit aid and disaster relief agencies, evaluating them on how good of a job they do in passing on the money to the recipients. They've established a page specifically for this event (as well as the past couple events too) with information on what charities are local, statewide, national, etc. You can also use their site to look up information on another charity organization that you intend to give to but isn't on the Moore page.

As we help them, let's not forget to take precautions for of our own. Make a family emergency plan and make sure it works. For multiple types of emergencies. I live in SoCal, so our favorite is an earthquake. (Tsunami is also possible along the coast.) However, we have gotten a few tornadoes over the years, they're just not often or strong enough to cause us concern. As such, we don't have warnings for them beyond a NWS alert on the radio. But if you live in tornado-prone areas, you've undoubtedly heard a tornado siren* before. (If you don't, you've still probably heard them as part of music, but I can assure you that they're definitely not entertainment.) Know what to do when you hear it going off. I leave you with a clip of just that: a tornado siren.

*Also known under various other names including air raid siren, civil alert siren, etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment