Oklahoma tornadoes: How to get help

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: July 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm •  Published: June 6, 2013
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Various agencies continue to offer support to victims of Oklahoma's tornadoes. Here are key locations where help is available, as well as websites and phone numbers:

FEMA/SBA Disaster Recovery Centers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management now have a single Disaster Recovery Center to help people get the federal assistance they  need, although businesses can get additional help at the U.S. Small Business Association Disaster Loan Outreach Center and the separate Business Recovery Center. Here are details:

The Disaster Recovery Center for individuals is located at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, 304 SW 134th and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sundays, although it closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Outreach Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at Jenk Simmons Fieldhouse, 214 N Country Club Road, El Reno.

The Business Recovery Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Moore Norman Technology, 13301 S Pennsylvania Ave.

Deadline to apply for FEMA assistance has been extended to Aug. 19. Apply by phone between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily by calling (800) 621-3362 or online at DisasterAssistance.gov. Type m.fema.gov on a smart phone.


 

Official Red Cross shelters

The Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) located at Westmoore High School has closed, and he Red Cross and other agencies have now transitioned over to long-term recovery efforts.

Help from American Red Cross will remain available to individuals and families in all affected areas.

A call center has been set up to field calls for those seeking Red Cross support at (866) 477-7276.

Additional help offered

City of Moore official site: If you have a need, go online to the website the City of Moore is recommending, Moore.Recovers.org, to get connected.

Long-term assistance

The Salvation Armycontinues to offer assistance to those in need and has set up a call center now that the Multi-Agency Resource Centers have closed. Casework teams will be available to respond to people who call (866) 477-7276, which is also the number people can call for Red Cross assistance.

For the latest Salvation Army news, check out disaster.SalvationArmyUSA.org, www.salvationarmyaok.org, www.twitter.com/SalArmyAOK, www.twitter.com/SalArmyAOKEDS or www.Facebook.com/SalArmyAOK

The American Legion, a national veterans’ organization, is allocating $1 million to veterans to be used to cover relocation expenses for veterans and their families who lost their homes in the disaster. Those affected and who need emergency assistance can call the American Legion’s National Emergency Fund at (800) 504-4098. If they have legal custody of minor children, they can seek help though the Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance Program. Veterans without children can seek assistance through The American Legion National Emergency Fund.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has established a tornado recovery fund to provide assistance for intermediate and long-term recovery efforts. Find out more at www.occf.org/tornadorecoveryfund.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has opened a disaster relief site at All Saints Catholic School, 4001 36th Ave. NW in Norman, and has set up a system for help with long-term recovery.

For long-term needs, Catholic Charities focuses on case management and counseling to help people for up to two years after the storm by either filling in gaps not covered by insurance for by helping with in-depth assistance. The organization recommends first registering with Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at (800) 621-3362 (FEMA)

For more information, call 523-3000 or go online to www.catholiccharitiesok.org.

The Riley Group is offering free professional organizational services to families affected by recent tornadoes as they begin to relocate into temporary or permanent housing. The service will be offered as long as there is a need. Families may request assistance via email at okc@therileygroup.info or by phone at 889-4430.

Ford Motor Credit Company and Lincoln Automotive Financial Services are offering customers affected by the recent tornadoes the option to delay some car and truck payments. The disaster relief programs allows qualified customers to delay one of two monthly payments, resuming their regular payment schedules when their situations improve.

Oklahoma Baptists have teams of people ready to help clean people’s home sites for free. If you require assistance with home site cleanup, chain-saw crews or debris cleanups, call 443-7583, 388-6912 or 415-5261 or go to the command center at First Baptist Church Moore, 301 NE 27 in Moore.

For general information, updates, photos and a donation link, visit www.okdisasterhelp.com.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Norman does long-term case management, intake and referral of resources for those who had loss and damage due to the storms. St. Vincent de Paul is a founding member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters. For assistance, go online to www.svdpusa.org.

The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency is offering grants for families impacted by tornadoes in 2013. The grants, capped at $2,000 per household, may be used for housing-related expenses including utility deposits, security deposits, hotel rooms and first month’s rent. There is no income limit attached to the grants.

Applications for these grants will be taken at Oklahoma Emergency Management’s resource center once it opens. Families applying for assistance must have a valid number from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Board Chairman Richard Lillard said the agency also will be working with families to see if more permanent housing solutions are available to fit their particular needs. For more information, call 419-8196.

A truckload of relief supplies from Salt Lake City and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a command center in Moore but has expanded its free cleanup help to cover all the areas affected by the tornadoes, including the ones that happened May 31. Organizers at the command center have been taking requests and sending work crews to render free cleanup at homes throughout the affected areas. Volunteers clad in yellow t-shirts and vests will be available to remove drywall, insulation, flooring, carpeting, furniture and appliances from damaged homes, affix tarps to roofs and remove trees and other debris from lawns. To help reach tornado victims, volunteers will go door to door in the affected areas, handing out fliers with contact information and available services listed. For cleanup assistance, call 794-5414 or send an email with your contact information to mnl618@hotmail.com.

IBC Bank has established a telephone hotline as a resource for customers who were affected by the tornado. A team of executives and senior bankers will take customer inquiries at 841-8919 and will address each caller’s situation on a case-by-case basis.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams are responding to severe weather in several locations, including Shawnee, Edmond, Little Axe, Moore and El Reno.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has established a Tornado Recovery Fund to provide assistance for intermediate and long-term recovery efforts. Find out more at https://www.occf.org/tornadorecoveryfund. For financial assistance and material needs, go online to www.destinychristian.com/tornado, call 677-1451 or stop by the church.

Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit agency with an office in Lawton that provides emergency financial assistance to military families and wounded warriors, is helping service members and their families affected by the Oklahoma tornado. Military families seeking assistance can go online at OperationHomefront.net/OKAR. Additionally, personnel from the organization's Oklahoma-Arkansas Field office are on the ground in central Oklahoma providing expedited assistance. To date, Operation Homefront has provided assistance in the form of $500 grants to more than 200 families, and the organization has additional resources to help military families rebuild. Contributing to Operation Homefront's efforts include Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree and La Quinta.

The Oklahoma United Methodists Volunteers in Mission (OKVIM) teams will deploy when called upon to help for certain needs. For information, call the Office of Mission at 530-2028 or go online to http://www.okumcministries.org/vim/Disaster_Response_Volunteer.htm. Antioch Christian Church, 3616 SW 119, will distribute boxes of supplies to tornado victims beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday at the church. The boxes are from Project Gift of Atlanta. For more information, go to http://antiochokc.org/tornado-relief/. Missing persons reports related to tornado.

People affected by recent storms and tornadoes can shop for and personally select items they need in the Christmas Connection Inc. store at 5728 S May Ave. There is no cost to shop for available items such as cookware, bedding, housewares and more. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Those needing long-term help can register for the Crisis Relief program, in order to shop for up to one year while they rebuild. Call 634-2006 or visit christmasconnection.org for more information.

Find someone or register yourself safe

People can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website at www.redcross.org by clicking on the “List Yourself or Search Registrants” link under “How to Get Help.” Those who can’t access a computer can call (800) RED CROSS — (800) 733-2767) — and one of the operators can help you register.

If you need to report a Moore resident missing, contact the Moore Police Department at 799-4357. Reports of missing Oklahoma City residents can be made by calling 297-1129 or walk-in reports are taken at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, 2727 SW 119.

Needed items and supplies

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma has opened a Disaster Relief Distribution Center at 2635 N Shields in Moore. Individuals and disaster relief agencies can pick up supplies between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. The Distribution Center is stocked with shovels, gloves, trash bags, safety goggles, paper goods, diapers, personal hygiene products, snacks, packing boxes, water and Gatorade.

City Rescue Mission is providing food, clothing for all ages and furniture for victims of last week’s tornadoes through its Donation Resource Center and Food Resource Center, 821 W California Ave. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 232-2709.

If you need shelter, clothing, showers, water, food or hygiene items, wheelbarrows, shovels and other work gear, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, 304 SW 134 in Oklahoma City, between Santa Fe and Western, is offering these items from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Call 799-9799.

Infant Crisis Services has established several distribution sites throughout central Oklahoma families affected by this week’s tornadoes. The organization will be distributing diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, bottles and other baby items. Distribution times and sites include from Infant Crisis Services, 4234 N Lincoln Blvd.; the Multi-Agency Resource Centers in Little Axe School, 2000 168th Avenue NE, Norman; Journey Church, 3801 Journey Parkway, Norman; Bethel Acres Community Center, 18101 Bethel Road, Shawnee; Platt College, 201 N Eastern Ave., Moore; Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1451 E 45, Shawnee; New Hope Baptist Church, 37496 New Hope Road, Tecumseh; Lakeview Church, 15301 Oklahoma 102; Hilltop Baptist Church, 11710 E Stella Road; Highland Baptist Church, 2425 SE 4; Little Axe Tribal Resources, 1970 156 Ave. NE, Norman; A complete list of resource sites and donation drop-off locations can be found at www.infantcrisis.org/disaster-relief.

RescueNet, an international disaster relief team, is working with Emmanuel Baptist Church in McLoud to help victims of the Shawnee tornado by serving meals, distributing items and dispatching cleaning crews. For information, go to the church, 16901 S Fishmarket or call 273-0040.

Journey Church in Norman has a hub of supplies and volunteers supporting relief efforts. Go online to helpmoorerebuild.com to request assistance.

 

Medical help

Fresenius Medical Care has set up a hotline at (800) 626-1297 for people who are on dialysis but are without power. Patients can call about local treatment options.

McBride Orthopedic Hospital Clinic is offering priority orthopedic care to all tornado victims. Call 230-9270.

The American Cancer Society wants to help cancer patients affected by tornadoes keep up their treatments. The group will help connect patients and services, help get patients to and from appointments, assist with lodging for those displaced, and offer information about local relief efforts that can assist with day to day needs. Call (800) 227-2345, anytime.

The JD McCarty Center, Durable Medical Equipment and Oklahoma Healthcare Authority are partnering with other medical industry companies to repair and replace damaged or missing medical equipment such as wheelchairs. Call the center at 307-2800 and ask for DME triage. Also, anyone with a child with special needs who may need temporary assistance should contact the center and ask for a social worker.

RX Open is an initiative of the biopharmaceutical supply chain to make sure medicine continues to flow to citizens in areas affected by major disasters. The Rx Open tool is now live at www.RxOpen.org.

Variety Care in Oklahoma City is offering to replace people’s medication lost in the tornadoes. People should call 632-6688. Representatives will be at some of the shelters.

Medicare United Charitable Pharmacy at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in the Presbyterian Physicians Building, Suite 100, 711 Stanton L. Young Blvd., will fill prescriptions lost in the tornado destruction free of charge. Many brand name and generic drugs, insulin, inhalers and specialty drugs apply. For information, call 271-6278.

Vision Care

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.

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.

Camps

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.

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.

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 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.

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

 

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.

Nursing mothers

The Norman Family La Leche League, a breastfeeding support group, has breast pumps, breast pads, burp cloths, breastfeeding clothing, nursing bras, nursing slings, milk storage supplies and numerous other items for breastfeeding mothers who have lost these things due in the recent tornado activity.

Hygeia Medical Group, Inc. has sent two new Hygeia electric breast pumps and five Personal Care Kits so that mothers in a shelter can share a single breast pump, or these can be used by an individual mother. Other individuals and groups from California, Indiana, New Jersey and Ohio, as well as individuals in Oklahoma, have donated other electric and manual breast pumps as well as many other items for individual mothers.

All are available free to help breastfeeding mothers impacted by the tornadoes to maintain or rebuild their milk supply and continue breastfeeding during this time of stress.

Currently, all items are being held by Sandy Moore-Furneaux, as other agencies do not have space. All items are free to breastfeeding mothers impacted by the tornado. To gain access to these items, mothers or support agencies may go online to the Norman La Leche League’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LaLecheLeagueNormanOK?fref=ts, email Moore-Furneaux at LLLSandy@yahoo.com or call 579-4667.

Lost diplomas

If you are, or are aware of any OSU graduates who lost an Oklahoma State University diploma during the destruction caused by this spring’s storms and tornados, OSU will replace those free of charge. To request a replacement diploma from OSU contact W. Stephen Damron, assistant dean, Academic Programs College of Agricultural Sciences  and Natural Resources at 136 Ag Hall, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078; or by phone at 405-744-5395.

 


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



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