OKLAHOMA CITY -- The American Red Cross is hard at work this holiday weekend helping those affected by the tornadoes in central and western Oklahoma.
Health professionals, counselors and volunteers have been meeting one-on-one with those who have been injured or have lost loved ones. Additional work is now beginning for everyone who has been impacted by the storms. Red Cross volunteers who are trained to assist in disasters will be meeting one-on-one with families to determine their needs.
Volunteers have identified at least 400 homes that were destroyed and at least 400 other homes that were affected.
Three shelters remain open and others are on standby and will open if needed. The shelters that remain open this weekend are:
Newcastle Storm ShelterMcClain County700 N. CarrNewcastle, Oklahoma
Salvation Army Boys & Girls ClubCanadian County201 S. Bick FordEl Reno, Oklahoma
First Baptist ChurchCanadian County15 Jackson Avenue NWPiedmont, Oklahoma
Stand-by shelters are located in Guthrie, Canton, and Stillwater. Emergency response vehicles are in affected neighborhoods distributing meals, comfort items like toothbrushes and soap, as well as clean-up materials like shovels, rakes, coolers, gloves tarps and boxes. Since Tuesday, the Red Cross has handed out at least 20,000 meals and 43,000 bulk items in central and western Oklahoma.
If you or anyone you know has been affected and need clean-up supplies, please call the Oklahoma City office at (405) 228-9500 or contact your local Red Cross chapter.
The Red Cross is a non-profit organization that does not receive regular funding from government agencies. We rely on the generosity of the public to support our mission of helping others during disasters. Visit http://www.okc.redcross.org/ OR text the word "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation. That amount will be added to your next cell phone bill.
The Red Cross would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who responded immediately to the needs of our community. Nearly 120 trained volunteers and staff have been on the ground – planning and working – even before the storms hit Tuesday. An additional 300 spontaneous volunteers have stepped up to help out – including more than 100 workers from Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy.
The next Red Cross volunteer orientation in Oklahoma City is scheduled for June 6. If you'd like to attend please contact Shane Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 282-9500 for details.
"The response has been phenomenal. We knew we would get help, but we've been overwhelmed with the number of people who want to come in and work," said American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma CEO Janienne Bella. "This is proof the Oklahoma standard continues and we couldn't be more proud of our community and business partners."
Devon Energy stepped up and made the first corporate contribution of $50,000 for our response to the tornadoes.
"The call from Devon came in while the tornadoes were still on the ground," said Bella. "And we were told if additional assistance is needed, Devon would be there to support us."
Other businesses have pitched in including Frac Tech Services with a $10,000 donation and American Fidelity with a $25,000 donation. McDonald's donated 5,000 value meal gift cards worth $25,000 for affected families. Lamar Advertising is donating digital ads on several billboards across the metro.
The biggest donation, so far, was announced on Friday's Disaster Relief Telethon on KWTV News 9. A representative from Chesapeake Energy presented a $250,000 gift to the Red Cross. News 9 viewers called in and pledged another $62,127.
"This is amazing. No one organization can do everything alone," said Bella. "The Red Cross mission continues thanks to Chesapeake, Devon, the United Way, the Salvation Army and everyone who has offered to support our team of volunteers." said Bella.