Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri Offers
Tips for Helping After a Disaster
Residents of Southern Missouri are once again dealing with the aftermath of violent “spring-like” storms. The latest round of storms occurred less than a year after the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri and the flooding/storm damage of south-central Missouri. These “leap day” storms and tornados have caused widespread damage. Rural areas were the hardest hit; damage was particularly extensive in and around the towns of Branson, Buffalo, Cassville, Kimberling City, Lebanon, and Puxico.
Less than 24 hours after the storms, many people are already expressing a desire to help. This comes as no surprise after all; Americans have always been known for their generosity and willingness reach out and help a neighbor. The Ozarks region is no exception. But what are the best ways to help? This is a very popular question, especially immediately following a tragedy. The staff at Catholic Charities USA put together some tips for people who are considering ways in which to help. We have also included ways for you to get involved and help survivors of these storms directly through Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri:
- Donate money--Financial donations are always the best choice. While clicking a “donate now” button doesn’t give a sense of action, the funds support the operations on the ground. Also, with cash donations agencies can buy locally infusing money into the local economy and take advantage of bulk pricing on some relief supplies. If you would like to assist survivors in this manner, you can “donate now” to Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri by visiting us at www.csomo.org and clicking our “Donations” button.
How do you know who to give to? Here are some tips you might not have thought about:
- Do your homework. Before you write a check, find out what percentage of your donations will actually be used in this disaster. How much does the organization spend on administration costs? What’s the agency’s track record? Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri administration costs are less than 10%. This means that over 90 cents of each dollar donated goes directly to individuals in the form of direct assistance.
- A large percentage of donations pour in while the disaster is front page news. Do your research and find out what organizations are in the game for the long haul and involved in the rebuilding phase—helping people find jobs, new housing or providing mental health counseling. Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri has Disaster Case Management offices in Joplin, Van Buren, Sikeston, and Cape Girardeau. We offer other services in addition to disaster case management including counseling and family strengthening, and home rebuilding services.
Here are few tips to consider when considering donating supplies:
- Before collecting relief supplies, find out if there is an agency that can accept them. A lot of people’s first instinct is to clean out their closets and send used clothing. However, these donations consume volunteer time and precious warehouse space.
- Remember, the disaster landscape changes quickly, so act quickly. If an agency needs water today, they may not necessarily need water tomorrow. Social media sites like Facebook have up-to-date postings of needed supplies. You can visit Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri on Facebook or visit our website at www.ccsomo.org to find out the latest news, see pictures, and get updates.
- If you want to send clothing, new clothing is always the best choice (especially jeans, t-shirts, shoes and underwear). Make sure there is an agency to accept them in the affected area. Yes, people who have lost everything will be grateful for whatever help they can get, but a brand new pair of socks would be top on most people’s list.
- Gift cards are a great way agencies can quickly get assistance to survivors. Gas, groceries, baby supplies are items families need following any emergency. If you would like to donate gift cards to for storm relief efforts, please mail them to: Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, 601 S. Jefferson Ave, Springfield, Missouri
- Volunteer—The work after any disaster is overwhelming, and volunteer offers come in from every part of the world. If you would like to donate your time and skills to aid the “leap day” storm survivors or those still struggling from the Joplin tornado, please call Amy Rogers at (417) 624-3790 or email her at:
. You can also stay informed on volunteer opportunities by visiting our website at: www.ccsomo.org.
- Spread the word through social media. Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri is on Facebook. Share this site with friends and family too. It’s a great way to stay informed and see the latest news and pictures.
Want to get involved? As you can see, there are many ways to show your support and make a difference in someone’s life. If you would like to help the survivors of the storms which hit Southern Missouri, visit us online at www.ccsomo.org for the latest updates, volunteer opportunities or to make a donation. You may also send monetary donations and gift cards to Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri’s administrative office located at: 601 S. Jefferson Avenue, Springfield, MO 65806. If you have any questions, or need additional information, please call us at (417) 866-0841. Thank you for your continued prayers and support.