Daily, we see images and read of the devastation suffered by residents of Joplin, Mo., after a force E-5 tornado touched down there just over a week ago, as well as what people living in other Midwestern and Southern states are dealing with following more tornadoes, floods and severe storms that have left lives shattered by death and homelessness.
“Joplin needs so much help; we can’t even imagine,” commented Gail Ross, a member of First Apostolic Church in Brewer.
Gail contacted me to report that members of her church have begun a collection effort for tornado victims in Joplin and that the public is urged to help in this worthwhile endeavor.
Donations will be accepted from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m Saturdays and 6 to 9 p.m Sundays now through the end of June, at the church located at 14 Parkway South in Brewer.
Gail said church members will be accepting monetary donations in addition to needed supplies. Among the items that would be most beneficial are backpacks, flashlights, batteries, diapers, bottles, toiletries, sunscreen and bottled water, she wrote, emphasizing that all items must be unopened.
If you have items you would like to contribute but you are unable to drop them off at the church, you are welcome to call Gail at 299-7193 to arrange to have your contributions picked up.
When I spoke with Gail this week, she said that depending on the size of the collection that is accumulated by the end of the month, the church members will either “ship the items out” or make arrangements for alternative methods of delivery to the appropriate agencies and organizations overseeing relief efforts in Joplin.
Gail said the collection has already begun with the church’s own members, and she thanks you in advance for your consideration of being part of this relief effort.
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And just to make sure that everyone knows their options, especially if you are unable to get out and purchase items for victims who have lost everything in Joplin but would like to help in some way, I called the American Red Cross for its suggestions on how to do so.
Mike Sirota is the development director for the Pine Tree Chapter of the ARC, located on Hammond Street in Bangor.
As is the case with any disaster of this type that does not take place in our local area, the Pine Tree Chapter does accept monetary donations to forward on for those in need, Mike said.
“The American Red Cross is collecting donations of cash, credit cards and checks for the National Disaster Relief Fund of the American Red Cross,” he explained. “Any gift for Joplin — and the donor intent is very important to us — goes right out to the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.”
Mike said “the American Red Cross is very pleased” with the response it has seen, noting that “there have been quite a few of those gifts” for recent tornado victims.
He went on to explain that while it is very difficult for local chapter representatives to have to say “no thank you” when people offer to donate items or supplies for victims of such disasters, the fact of the matter is that the local chapter “has no way of collecting, storing or distributing” such items, which is why cash, credit cards and checks are the ways to make a donation through the American Red Cross.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.