Moore volunteers hope to raise spirits in Illinois

(Hope) Raisers and Elevate Church, two groups that aided during the Moore tornadoes in May, will join with survivors to offer needed supplies and emotional support in Illinois.
by Matt Patterson Published: November 23, 2013
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Tornado survivors in Moore are banding together to offer help to victims of recent tornadoes in Illinois.

The two organizations coordinating the effort, (Hope) Raisers and Elevate Church in Moore, are collecting items to place in what organizers are calling hope boxes. The items needed range from eyedrops and baby wipes to stuffed animals.

The group is made up mostly of survivors of the May 20 tornado in Moore. They will begin collecting items at several locations beginning Saturday. The first trip to Illinois is scheduled to begin on Thanksgiving night.

“I think it's important for the healing process to take what you've experienced and invest it in others,” Elevate Church pastor Steven Earp said. “I think this trip will be just as important for some of the survivors here.”

Earp said he began receiving phone calls and texts Sunday night, after storms moved through Illinois, from people wanting to reach out and help.

The group quickly put together a plan. (Hope) Raisers is a Kansas City-based organization that was helpful to Moore survivors after storms six months ago. Earp said many Moore residents aided by the organization have now volunteered to assist it in other efforts.

The first group will visit Washington, Ill., one of the hardest-hit areas. Earp said if that area is already receiving sufficient volunteer help they may move on to other towns.

“We're going to be flexible,” he said.

But the goal isn't simply to pass out material things.

“We're going to give encouragement and emotional help and support,” Earp said. “It's not just about helping with debris removal and passing out needed items. It's more of let's connect with people and maybe give them some tools so they can help process the emotions involved in disaster trauma. That's also a big part of what we want to do.”


by Matt Patterson
Reporter
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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