Sending Relief
To Disaster Areas

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© Copyright  by Earl H. Roberts

Churches are the natural focal point for gathering life-saving supplies for disaster victims.  For everyone who wants to help, churches still have a reputation for knowing how and where to provide welcome relief better than any government agency. 

Three types of relief will be needed: 
Immediate,
Short Term,
and rebuilding.

Those organizing relief shipments to disaster areas can peruse the Emergency Plan contents for a list of essential items needed for Immediate Relief.  The objective of this type of relief is survival.  Only those shipments which can reach the destination within 3 days should focus primarily on these items.  By limiting the number of items to these essentials more families can be assisted more effectively.

Short Term relief should include clothing, bedding, medical supplies which can be bought in a drug store, and hand tools which can be used for cleanup -- shovels, rakes, hoes, work gloves, etc.  Short term relief projects should be scheduled to arrive at the disaster area within 5 days.  Remember that the gas and electric probably will not be available in the area until the utility companies can make a safety evaluation.

Anything which would arrive after five days should be filling known specific needs, as discovered by calling the Governor's office or opening the state's web site.

AT&T and other large corporations were IMMEDIATELY delivering brand new (and finest quality) axes, picks, crowbars, wrecking bars, goggles, shovels, wheelbarrows and gloves to focal points throughout Oklahoma's recent tornado disaster area.

The Red Cross orchestrates relief efforts in stricken areas; by uniting with your church or civic group instead of applying to them individually you can relieve some of the strain on Red Cross efforts when disaster first strikes.

Pre-Sorting Relief Material donations will help greatly in distributing it.  When compiling relief items ask those donating it to sort into separate areas.  Divide the areas first into food and non food stalls.  Then divide the food into canned, boxed, and eating utensils.  Glass items require special care and packing.    Divide the non food stalls into protective and working.  In this way the relief items can be distributed more effectively to where they are needed most.

Faith-inspiring stories from the Oklahoma Tornado

Such items as are pairs should be joined together so they won't come apart during shipment.  For example: Shoes can be tied together by their strings.   Gloves can be joined by wrapping once around with masking tape.

Personal notes of encouragement will raise spirits even higher when left unsigned.

Those with time or equipment available can send themselves AFTER checking with their minister, the web site of that area's local paper or government agency to see where they can help most.

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