A. Our disaster response typically was house fires and the occasional isolated incident. Last year, the wildfires really jumped our numbers considerably and obviously the May storms this year. Comparatively, last year we had 90 families referred to us for our crisis relief program. We're somewhere over 350 right now.
Q. What are your biggest needs?
A. We have a lot of clothes and shoes, but what we don't have as much of are the household items, sheets and towels, dishes, cookware, silverware, even decorative items like plants and pictures. The families that lost everything lost those things, too, and it's just very expensive to try to replace all of that. Gently used items in really good condition that still have life in them that someone would benefit from — we can get a lot of mileage out of that. We always need volunteers and, of course, monetary donations. We have a 60,000-square-foot facility, and we have to keep on the lights. There are a lot of ways that people can help.
Q. Why is it important that the community come together for others?
A. The collaboration and coordination in response to the May tornadoes has really been phenomenal. It's a really incredible network of organizations all working together to benefit the community, and I think that's somewhat unique to Oklahoma City. I've lived and worked other places, and it's way ahead, but it's not just this disaster relief; I think our community really responds to whatever circumstances. There are a whole lot of people in Oklahoma City living below the poverty level, so for the community to step up, other families welcome that. We'll serve well over 10,000 people this year through all of our programs.
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