Tornado victims need our help


“Scouring” is a word weather watchers use to describe what happens to the earth when the strongest tornadoes pass over it: Even the grass is pulled up from the ground, leaving nothing but dirt behind.

Whether Monday’s Moore, Okla., tornado is classified ultimately as a 4 or a 5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, we know the destruction was devastating with building slabs swept clean, bark stripped from trees, telephone poles snapped in half and, yes, in some places what appears from aerial photos to be scoured ground.

The number of dead in the city has been revised down from a high of 51 to a number closer to 25, a blessed relief but not one that will console the loved ones of those who died, especially the children. The destruction of schools during the day is the nightmare of every emergency worker and every parent. The capricious nature of tornadoes, which obliterate one block and leave completely untouched the next, can add to our sense of anguish.

As we keep one wary eye on the sky today, we know that the people here are looking for ways to help. Although we do not endorse donations to any one organization, we urge our generous neighbors to work with organizations they know to be sure precious resources do not go to scammers.

Whatever domestic disaster recovery agency you prefer — Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, or another — will have a way for you to donate to this specific recovery effort.

The best way to support to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is to text FOOD or TORNADO to 32333 to make a $10 donation, according to Ken Kupchick, marketing director with the River Valley Regional Food Bank. These donations will make it possible for the Oklahoma food bank to support emergency workers and displaced families now, and to begin the long-term business of supporting the community through its lengthy recovery.

“We know the best thing we can do is respond quickly and get out of the way,” Mr. Kupchick said, adding that our food bank will coordinate efforts with its Oklahoma counterpart.

Citing the 2011 Etna and Denning tornadoes and the ongoing need for support, Mr. Kupchick said, “Every month and every holiday is a new milestone. … Sadly, when this story fades is when the food is most needed.”

Those who wish to make a larger donation may do so at regionalfoodbank.org.

Those who prefer to give food should think in terms of ready-to-eat meals in pop-top cans like soup, stew, ravioli and chili, granola bars and snack items like Slim Jims. Water in 12- or 20-ounce bottles also is useful, according to Mr. Kupchick, who has been communicating with Jack Miller in resource development at the Oklahoma City food bank. These kinds of items can be used to support emergency workers.

Events like this one remind people of the importance of blood donation. Check with the Arkansas Blood Institute and the Oklahoma Blood Institute for donation center locations and hours and upcoming blood drives.

Prayers and generous thoughts too are welcome at times like these. Our neighbors in Moore have more than what would seem their share of troubles. We know they will rebuild, but we know it will be a long process and we wish them every good thing on the way.