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How to get help in the aftermath of Oklahoma's recent tornadoes

Agencies are offering help for people who need support in the aftermath of the tornadoes that swept through Moore, south Oklahoma City and Shawnee.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: May 26, 2013 at 9:21 pm •  Published: May 26, 2013
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The clinic, offered by online eyewear company Coastal.com, Essilor and the Oliphant Institute for Integrated Learning Advanced Family Eye Care, will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at Graceway Baptist Church, 1100 SW 104. An appointment is not necessary, although people must show proof that they are victims of the May 19-20 tornadoes.

Dr. Kenneth Guthrie, 13421 N Pennsylvania Ave., is offering free eye exams for victims who lost glasses or contacts or had eye injuries. For information, call 753-9006.

Eyemart Express is making and donating free glasses.

The Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians and its members are partnering with The Vision Council and the American Optometric Association to create the Optometry Strong Tornado Relief Project. OAOP has created a network of doctors who will perform no-cost eye exams and provide free glasses or contacts for tornado victims in need. The project runs now through Aug. 30, and exams will take place at the office of a participating Doctor of Optometry located in or close to the affected communities.

Hearing or hearing aid loss

Economy Hearing Aid Centers and Starkey Hearing Foundation are offering free assistance to those who may have suffered hearing loss or lost their hearing aids during the storms.

Individuals affected by the tornadoes should contact the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Foundation will provide hearing aids for storm victims. Economy Hearing will make sure they are serviced and cared for, free of charge. For assistance, contact the Starkey Hearing Foundation at (866) 354-3254 or email info@starkeyfoundation.org.

Mental health services

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has established an emergency response center within the tornado disaster zone in Moore. This center will be located in the Cleveland County Health Department at 424 S Eastern Ave. in Moore, and will provide walk-in services in addition to coordinating mobile crisis response teams to be deployed throughout the affected area.

Parents, teachers, and other community members are invited to participate in the workshop, which will explore how children perceive disasters, common reactions in children to disasters, what happens in our brains after a disaster, simple strategies to calm your child’s fears after a natural disaster and how to discuss this disaster or any trauma with kids. Space for this free workshop is limited, so go online to sunbeamfamilyservices.org/register-for-workshop or call 528-7721 to reserve your seat.

Camps

Southern Hills Baptist Church is hosting a free vacation Bible school and after care activities June 3-7, and leaders welcome the children living in tornado damaged areas. Evening meals will also be offered daily to tornado victims and their families. For more information or to register for the program, call 682-1636 or go to myshbc.com.

These camps are for students at Plaza Towers and Briarwood elementary schools:

Camp DaKaNi in Oklahoma City is offering a free session of camp for children who have been displaced because of the tornado that caused widespread damage in Moore and Oklahoma City. Camp DaKaNi sessions are held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in June and July. Sessions are open to kids ages five to 13. Free aftercare will also be provided along with snacks and water. For more information or to register call 254-2080.

Oklahoma Christian University is also offering free soccer camps to those affected directly by the tornado. Sessions run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. June 10-13 on Oklahoma Christian’s campus at 2501 E Memorial Road in Edmond. Camps will be staffed by OC soccer coaches and men’s and women’s players. Campers will receive a camp soccer ball and T-shirt. All students ages 5-12 are welcome, although registration is required. Contact Robison at info@socceracademy.net or at 314-6141 for more information.

A summer camp at St. John's Lutheran Church, 1032 NW 12, in Moore, has more than a dozen scholarships available for children of storm victims, an organizer said Monday. Karen Karner, a disaster response coordinator at the church, said the day camp is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through July 26. The camp, which includes lunch and snacks, began Monday, June 3, at the church. It is geared for children age 2 through sixth grade. For more information, call 794-5462.

Housing or shelter

The University of Oklahoma Housing and Food is providing housing and food for displaced families, working with the Red Cross. To get help, call 325-2511 or come to Walker Tower 126 on campus.

The Oklahoma Association of Realtors has created a Facebook group to help those displaced by recent tornadoes find temporary and long-term housing solutions. For more information, call 848-9944. People can also post their needs at www.facebook.com/groups/okhomeaid. Realtors regularly monitor this page and are ready to help. People interested in donating water, sports drinks, diapers, wipes, baby formula, hand towels, individually wrapped snacks, work gloves, hand sanitizer or sunscreen can drop them off at 9807 N Broadway Extension, 1212 S Air Depot or 3131 Northwest Expressway.

Titan Factory Direct has committed to making sure tornado victims receive top priority in receiving homes from Champion Homes factories in Texas. Applications for relief and immediate housing solutions can be made at Titan’s model center at 8308 Shields Blvd. or by phone at 635-6314.

Fuel for rescue workers

Sun Coast Resources Inc. is providing fuel for first responders and rescue and recovery vehicles, as well as generators for police, firefighters and other emergency personnel. If you are without power and fuel, call the emergency line at (800) 677-FUEL (3835), Ext. 567 or email at emergencyfuel@suncoastresources.com.

Lost photographs and items

The nonprofit National Disaster Photo Rescue has joined with other local groups like the Moore Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to help collect lost photographs related to the Moore tornadoes and return them to their owners. For information, go online to https://www.facebook.com/OklahomaPhotoRescue. Official photo dropoff locations include Arvest Banks, Walgreens, Dental Depot and Studio Innovations.

The Oklahoma City-based Candid Color Photography is collecting photos found in the tornadoes’ aftermath and scanning them in so victims can browse through them. For updated information about how to drop off photos, go online to www.candid.com/tornado.

A Facebook page called “Moore Oklahoma Lost and Found” has been established as a place for posting lost or found items. Check out https://www.facebook.com/#!/MooreOklahomaLostAndFound for information.

Vital records

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is issuing a temporary waiver of the fees for birth and death certificates for victims of the May 19 and 20 tornadoes. The waiver will remain in effect until June 30 for people whose homes were located in the path of tornadoes in McClain, Cleveland and Oklahoma counties, and the cities of Carney and Shawnee.

Storm victims can apply for birth or death certificates at the Oklahoma State Department of Health office at 1000 NE 10 at no charge. Bring photo identification or other documents that demonstrate your home address.

In addition, the OSDH is setting up a temporary vital records station at the Moore branch of the Cleveland County Health Department at 424 S Eastern Ave. in Moore. Through early next week, including Memorial Day, storm victims can stop by the Moore Health Department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and apply for a birth or death certificate.

Legal advice

The Oklahoma Bar Association’s Disaster Relief program is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division to offer free, disaster-related legal advice to people affected by recent storms in Caddo, Cleveland, Comanche, Creek, Garfield, Grant, Greer, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne and Pottawatomie counties.

People seeking legal advice can visit www.okbar.org to complete a legal assistance form or call toll-free (866) 341-8416 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Those seeking assistance are asked to provide as many details about their situations in the online form as possible.

Applications of victims seeking help will be reviewed to determine the areas in which they need assistance and then paired with a volunteer attorney who has experience in those areas of the law. This free service begins immediately. Aid will be provided free of charge regarding insurance claims, landlord-tenant law, repair contracts, consumer protection, mortgage foreclosure, legal document replacement and more, all related to the tornadoes.

Auto help

The Pep Boys — Manny, Moe & Jack announced it will offer free automotive services to those in the tornado-affected areas. The free safety inspection includes: Checking tire condition and tread depth, checking and setting tire pressure to manufacturer specification, tire rotation, brake system inspection, checking bulbs, wipers and air filter, checking fluid levels, visual under-car inspection and visual inspection of belts and hoses. No applications, coupons or codes are needed; the free services will be applied automatically at checkout. The services will be offered at stores local to affected areas. To find a Pep Boys store in Oklahoma and North Texas, go online to pepboys.com and click “Find a Store” in the upper right corner.

Veterinary care and lost pets

With the help of a $10,000 donation from the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery to the Oklahoma State University Animal Relief Fund, the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences is offering free veterinary medical care to animals injured during the tornadoes. “Here at Oklahoma State University’s Veterinary Medical Hospital, we have taken in five horses, two cats and a donkey so far,” said Dr. Jean Sander, dean of the veterinary center. “We expect to see more as the cleanup efforts continue.” Owners and referring veterinarians can make arrangements for veterinary care at the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences by calling (405) 744-7000. To donate to the OSU Animal Relief Fund, go to: www.cvhs.okstate.edu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=853&Itemid=124.

To find displaced animals, a website has been set up where found animals and their locations will be listed. Go online to www.OKClostpets.com.

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is continuing to reunite animals with their owners. All displaced animals are located at the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Shelter, Animal Resource Center and Cleveland County Fairgrounds. Those searching for pets can access the animal photos on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/ovhgchb and will be provided with an identification number as well as location and contact number of the facility.

Banfield Pet Hospitals, the veterinarians inside PetSmart stores, are waiving all office visit costs for tornado victims.

Central OK Humane Society is accepting donations to be used to help animals hurt or displaced in the storm. To donate, go online to OKhumane.org.

Animal Resource Center is taking in stray pets. The center is in need of supplies (dog food, etc). 7941 S I-35 Service Road (I-35, east of Shields), 604-2892.

Organizations that provide support for dogs and owners affected by the tornadoes can receive assistance from the American Kennel Club and AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund. Pet owners and shelters in need can call (212) 696-8228 or email sxs2@akc.org for more information. People who would like to donate to the relief fund can go to www.OKCdogs.org.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, at the request of Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane), has initiated a cat-trapping program for the families in the tornado zones. Code 3 Associates Animal Disaster Response in Longmont, Colo., also is assisting.

Pet owners who haven't already called are encouraged to contact OK Humane at 532-4216 to report lost cats and request tracking assistance. The dispatcher will require pet owners to provide an address where responders should set traps, a general description of the cats and the pet owner's contact information. OK Humane will provide temporary shelter and daily care for cats found through the program until they are reunited with their families. The cat trapping program began May 29 and has been extended to run through June 10. In addition to setting up cat traps requested by individual pet owners, OK Humane, ASPCA and Code 3 Associates will set traps throughout the area to find any additional animals displaced by the disaster. OK Humane urges Moore-area pet owners who are searching for a lost cat or dog to call 672-0064, or visit www.okclostpets.com or 2901 SE 29 in Oklahoma City.

Business help

The Greater Oklahoma City Back to Business Initiative has launched an effort to support businesses in Moore and south Oklahoma City damaged by recent tornadoes. The initiative, which is a partnership between the City of Oklahoma City, the City of Moore, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and the Moore Chamber of Commerce, will allow physically-damaged businesses to report their needs following the storm and get connected with resources to help them return to business. For information, go online to www.greateroklahomacity.com/backtobusiness.

Bulk shopping, charging stations, batteries and cellphones

Central Oklahoma Sam’s Clubs are temporarily waiving membership requirements to support residents and communities affected by the tornadoes. The clubs are establishing free power stations to recharge mobile devices, laptop computers and other electronic devices. Locations are: 3400 W Main in Norman; 5510 SW 5, 9000 NW Passage and 1900 Memorial in Oklahoma City; and 6521 SE 29 in Midwest City.

CPR- Cell Phone Repair, an electronics repair company, is assisting those affected by the recent storms by helping them reconnect with loved ones by repairing liquid damage on phones and tablets, offering charging stations and providing refurbished phones free of charge.

CallMultiplier has donated free unlimited service to everyone impacted by the Moore tornado, as well as everyone involved with the recovery effort including local schools, churches, charities, nonprofits, police and rescue groups. The company's automated calling and texting service can be used free for 90 days.

AT&T is offering charging stations for electronic devices. Locations include: AT&T Store, 2670 S Service Road, Moore; AT&T’s Mobile Sales Store at the Moore Community Center, 301 S Howard; Westmoore High School, 12613 S Howard; Target, 770 SW 19 in Moore; Moore Walmart, 501 SW 19; Walmart Neighborhood Market, 640 SE 4, Moore; Best Buy, 2700 S Service Road, Moore; and at the Little Axe and Shawnee Red Cross shelters. AT&T internet “cafes” are open at the Moore Public Library, 225 S Howard; St. Andrews Church gymnasium, 2727 SW 119; the Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee; Carney High School and Westmoore High School.

Verizon Wireless is deploying multiple charging stations equipped with emergency phones, Internet access, laptop computers and charging capability. Locations are: Red Cross Shelter, 201 S Howard in Moore; Home Depot parking lot, SW 19 and Telephone Road in Moore; Shawnee High School, 1001 N Kennedy, Shawnee; and Walmart parking lot, 501 SW 19. A 53-foot mobile support unit for residents of Moore and surrounding areas will be located at the Red Cross Shelter at 201 S Howard in Moore. This unit is equipped with emergency phones, charging stations and Internet capability.

U.S. Cellular has set up two mobile charging units to provide a power source for charging wireless devices, offer phone calls and provide free Internet access. Charging station locations include Sam’s Clubs, 9000 NW Passage and 1900 W Memorial; Walmart locations, 196 Shawnee Mall Drive in Shawnee, 501 SW 19 in Moore, and 3300 Tri City Drive in Newcastle; and Abundant Life Church, 777 SW 19 in Moore. The mobile charging locations also will be giving away chargers and batteries for those in need. Customers with questions can call customer service by dialing *611 from their cellphones or (888) 944-9400 from a land line.

Rosh Pinah, a Messianic Jewish congregation in Oklahoma City, is offering free cellphones with a month’s worth of unlimited talk and text to tornado survivors. To get one, sign up at roshpinah.org/tornado.

Water testing

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department is offering free bacterial testing of water from private wells that may have been contaminated by floodwaters. The free testing is available to anyone in Oklahoma City-County who suspects that floodwaters may have inundated a wellhead or infiltrated well water. Water testing kits are available at 921 NE 23. The laboratory is located in room 105 and is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Water well testing requires that you use a sterile container provided by the department and that you collect 100 milliliters of water. Bring the sample to the lab within 24 hours of collection. Results will be available 48 hours after receipt and you will be notified by phone with positive results. For questions concerning water testing, contact the laboratory at 425-4340. Digital and computer restoration

A group of data and forensics professionals calling itself “The Computer Rescue Team” is working to help people recover digital data, such as family photos and other personal files, from devices damaged in the recent tornadoes. Devices include desktop, laptop and tablet computers, cellphones, digital cameras and more. The team includes local computer experts, Moore Public Library and premier data recovery labs. The group urges cleanup crews that find digital devices to set them aside carefully. It they are wet, they should leave them wet and seal them in a plastic bag to prevent oxidation. Computers and other damaged devices may be dropped off at the Moore Public Library, 225 S Howard Ave., for processing. For information, go online to www.computerrescueteam.org.


Send your “how to get help” items to Lillie-Beth Brinkman at lbrinkman@opubco.com