Sandy Gerrettie has a personal tie to Joplin, Mo.
“I have some people that I know of that live in Joplin, they have not been found yet,” she said. “It’s very scary, you look on TV and it’s like holy crap—it’s just devastating.”
Gerrettie, who lives and owns a healing and wellness center in Joliet, decided she had to do something. So, with her friend Christina Repka, of Manhattan she embarked on a journey that will end in at least four trips to the tornado-ravaged city to deliver supplies.
“Seeing all of the devastation on TV, our center is all about helping, that’s what we do,” Gerrettie said. “It breaks my heart. There's parents looking for their children, there's children looking for their parents.”
Tornadoes in Joplin ripped through on Sunday, but the latest numbers of fatalities and injuries were given Wednesday. CNN last reported that 125 people were killed, 750 are injured and there are still individuals that are missing.
The storm was deadliest single tornado in 60 years.
Just the Basics
Gerretti and Repka began by calling a local rental car agency and asking if they would donate a vehicle. Enterprise Rent-a-Car came through and is donating the use of an SUV.
Repka is driving down to Joplin on Friday with the first batch of donations that have been dropped off at the Healing and Wellness Center.
Although people have donated things like televisions and beds, those will be brought down at a later delivery date. For right now, what the people need are the basics.
“They’re not concerned with electronic things, there’s no power,” Gerrettie said.
Among the most needed items are flashlights, batteries, shampoo and toothbrushes. People are also requesting dog food and baby formula, Gerrettie said.
If you want to donate goods, the center, which is located at 3117 W. Jefferson in Joliet, will be taking them from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
If you are unable to make it during those hours, call the store at 815-741-4386.
The store is taking donations of supplies only.
“We are not taking monetary donations here at all,” Gerrettie said.
If you want to donate money, though, we have a number of ways you can do so.
The Salvation Army has already begun relief work in the town through mobile feeding kitchens and recovery missions. The organization has set up special numbers to donate funds.
Credit card donations can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or by going to www.salvationarmyusa.org. Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, 3637 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64111. Be sure to note "Joplin Tornado" on the check.
The Heart of Missouri United Way has also launched a Joplin Relief Fund, where 100 percent of all donations will go to disaster relief in Joplin, according to the Huffington Post. To make a $10 donation, text "JOPLIN" to 864833.
The American Red Cross is also collecting donations for Joplin. Since Sunday night, more than 100 people have stayed at the Red Cross shelter, and hundreds of supplies have been sent to help those in need.
The organization estimates that it will spend as much as $41 million responding to disasters that have affected the United States since March 31, and only $33.6 million has been collected to date.
To make a donation to the Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. You may also text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or send checks to the American Red Cross at P.O. Box 37243, Washington D.C., 20013.
Relief efforts can also be tracked through the Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery Facebook page.
In addition to accepting donations, HS Healing and Wellness Center is looking for additional volunteers to drive supplies down to Joplin. If you want to volunteer, call Gerrettie at 815-741-4386.