Ways to help the victims of the Moore, Okla. tornado
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is operating shelters and delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The organization has a website called Safe and Well to help loved ones find each other. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10; donate any amount online or by calling (800) RED CROSS.
Central Oklahoma Humane Society
The Central Oklahoma Humane Society is in need of towels, paper towels, bleach, gloves and crates to help with lost and injured animals. Donations can be made online here and should be designated for the “OK Humane Disaster Relief Fund.” Phone: (405) 607-8991
Convoy of Hope
The Missouri-based nonprofit organization has done work in other disasters, including the Haiti earthquake, with a mission of getting food and water to those after disaster strikes. Now it’s doing the same for Moore, Okla. You can donate online here. Convoy of Hope is also going the crowd-sourced route, using HopeMob, a site similar to Kickstarter but for raising money to help disaster victims and others in need, which charges no fees to the organizations that use it. Convoy of Hope’s goal on the site is to raise $15,000 in seven days to help Moore. Phone: (800) 988-0664
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
Feed the Children
Feed the Children has set up five locations in Oklahoma City to accept donations to help victims of the Moore tornado. The organization is accepting items including diapers, canned goods, non-perishable food, snack items, water and sports drinks. The organization is also supporting mobile canteens in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. You can donate online, or make a $10 donation by texting the word DISASTER to 80888. Phone: (800) 627-4556
Through its network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America says it will deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need in Oklahoma, and will also “set up additional emergency food and supply distribution sites as they are needed.” You can donate online here. Phone: (800) 910-5524.
Jewish Federations of North America
The Jewish Federations of North America is working with the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma, which is coordinating efforts with a local food bank, Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross. The Jewish Federations of North America has established an Oklahoma City Tornado Relief fund. Donors can contribute online here. Checks can also be sent to the JFNA national mailbox at: The Jewish Federations of North America, Wall Street Station, P.O. Box 148, New York, NY, 10268. Please indicate “JFNA Oklahoma City Tornado Relief Fund” on all checks or in the designation box online.
Life Church.tv, which describes itself as “Oklahoma’s largest evangelical church,” says its Oklahoma City metro locations will accept donations of items over the next week, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and distribute them to tornado victims. Among the items needed: Toiletries, diapers, wipes, formula, baby bottles, new clothing, new shoes, and bags, backpacks or plastic tubs for carrying items. You can also donate money online by visiting LifeChurch.tv, or by texting the word RELIEF to 86613, and selecting an amount you would like to donate. Phone: (405) 216-7054
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief has volunteers on the ground. A tax-deductible donation can be made to the BGCO’s Disaster Relief ministry online or by calling (405) 942-3800. You may also send checks to: BGCO Attn: Disaster Relief 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112.
OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund
The state of Oklahoma, coordinating with the United Way of Central Oklahoma, established the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made online at UnitedWayOKC.org or call (405) 236-8441.
Operation Blessing International
Humanitarian organization Operation Blessing International, which last week coordinated more than 500 volunteers in Granbury, Texas, after that area was hit by a tornado, is working with The Home Depot and dispatching a construction unit, mobile command center, trucks with tools and supplies and a team of construction foremen to Moore. The Virginia Beach-based group’s online link for donations is here. Phone: (800) 730-2537
Los Angeles-based international relief agency Operation USA is providing emergency aid where needed to community-based health organizations in Oklahoma. Donate online, by phone at (800) 678-7255, or by check to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Or donate $10 by texting AID to 50555. Corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also being requested.
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, working with the Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, is seeking monetary donations. To donate, visit the regional food bank’s website, or give $10 by texting the word FOOD to 32333. Phone: (405) 972-1111
The Salvation Army is activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents and rescuers in Moore, as well as in other locations in the Plains and the Midwest that were impacted by the tornadoes. Donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation by phone at (800) SAL ARMY. If you’re sending a check make sure you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK. 73157.
The international Christian relief organization focuses on cleaning and repairing damaged homes and sent two disaster relief units from North Wilkesboro, N.C. to Oklahoma Tuesday. “The tractor-trailers are stocked with heavy-duty plastic, chainsaws, generators, and other tools and equipment. The units also will serve as command centers for the response,” Samaritan’s Purse says on its website. You can donate online here. You can also give a $10 donation by texting the word SP to 80888. Phone: (800) 528-1980
United Way of Central Oklahoma
A disaster relief fund is being activated as of May 21 so that individuals can specifically donate 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.
Finally, A Word Of Caution
Beware of scammers who take advantage of unsuspecting people who want to help. They may seek you out on the phone, 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 tornadoes.
- 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 Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.
- Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.