Want to help? Metro-east to aid Okla. storm victims

News-DemocratMay 21, 2013 

The mayors of three metro-east communities are teaming up so residents can help those recovering from the deadly tornado in Oklahoma.

Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton, who organized tornado relief in 2011 for Joplin, is joining Glen Carbon Mayor Rob Jackstadt and Troy Mayor Allen Adomite to set up a supply drive for survivors of the tornado in Moore, Okla.

"We've seen devastation like this first hand in Joplin and our hearts go out to the victims in Oklahoma," Patton said.

Donations and supplies can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at three locations: Fire State #1 in downtown Edwardsville, the Troy Municipal Building and Glen Carbon Fire Station #2. The public is encouraged to donate tarps, snack pack food, toiletries, flashlights with batteries, candles, matches, lighters, baby wipes, work gloves, diapers and eye protection.

"The experience of seeing volunteers from across the Midwest respond in Joplin was amazing, and this is another chance to help a community in need," Adomite said.

The supplies will be delivered to the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills, which is sending a team to Moore this weekend. Tax-deductible financial donations may be made to the Community Hope Center; write "tornado relief" in the memo line of the check.

Jackstadt's son attended Oklahoma University, so the family has traveled to Moore and has a personal connection to storm victims.

"Our son has a friend who lost his home in the tornado," Jackstadt said. "We also know many others affected by the devastation and it puts it in perspective how something like this can happen to anyone."

More than 50 volunteers from the greater St. Louis area were on standby Tuesday, waiting to be assigned by the Red Cross to where they can help with the recovery efforts in Oklahoma.

The Red Cross was one of the first organizations at the scene to help the recovery effort -- as the national group does for most major disasters. After storms Sunday, the Red Cross set up three shelters in the Oklahoma City area. And after the deadly tornado Monday, Red Cross volunteers distributed food and supplies to first responders and opened a shelter in Moore.

If you would like to support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disaster like the recent tornadoes, visit redcross.org, call 800-REDCROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Other ways to help locally:

* The Abbey Espresso Bar and Cafe is collecting disposable diapers and baby wipes. Anyone wishing to donate those items should bring them prior to Friday evening to the cafe, located at 5801 West Main St. in Belleville.

* Kettler and Sons Flatwork Specialists and the staff at Belle-Clair Speedway are teaming up to take up a collection this weekend. The Oklahoma tornado relief collection will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville. They are collecting essential and nonperishable food items, hopefully filling a 16-foot trailer. Anyone donating can sign up for a drawing for two free tickets to the UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour "Mtn DEW 50" June 20 at the speedway.

* Zach Schnare, a teacher at Metro-East Lutheran High School, is arranging a collection with two Lutheran churches near Moore. He is collecting bottled water, work gloves and personal hygiene kits including toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wash clothes, bar soap and shampoo; no clothing at this time. Donations can be dropped off between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Metro-East Lutheran, 6305 Center Grove in Edwardsville. For more information about the collection, visit Schnare's blog at www.zachariahschnare.blogspot.com.

Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab and mhasenstab@bnd.com.

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