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How You Can Help Joplin Tornado Victims

Courtesy of the Huffington Post, a few ways you can support those affected by Sunday's devastating storms.

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.

According to the Huffington Post, Missouri's State Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all those who cannot physically volunteer to donate funds to support disaster relief efforts.

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.

Pastor Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle May 25, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Just want to let people know about another link for donations: https://community.elca.org/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=638. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Disaster Response will give 100% of all funds marked U.S. Severe Storms directly to the communities hit. Right now, it sounds like money is needed the most. Please give generously and give thanks for the blessings you have.
Amanda Luevano (Editor) May 25, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Thanks for sharing the information!
Jacki McHale May 25, 2011 at 07:23 PM
Thanks for the info, I don't have money but I do have tooth brushes (in packages from the dentist) wondering if they need toys for kids? I have some and would like to donate. Maybe help the kids? Or is that a dumb donation?
Mary Ann Lopez May 25, 2011 at 08:34 PM
I think there are probably a lot of children that would gladly accept a used toy. They've lost everything, so it's not a dumb donation at all. I'm sure if you contact the Salvation Army or one of the other organizations they might be able to help you!
Shannon Antinori (Editor) May 25, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Definitely not dumb — I think it's a really great, thoughtful idea!
Pastor Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle May 26, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Jacki, I'm hopeful that our local congregation will soon be organizing some kind of relief efforts for the coming months - for Joplin, the Oklahoma cities and/or other places affected by these terrible storms. We'll post something on our Facebook page (Good Shepherd Church, Romeoville) when we get details. I think a toy drive might be a nice idea. Maybe that's something for us to think about.
Jim Testin May 26, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Every little bit counts especially to those who have been devastated by this disaster. Another opportunity has been identified by the Joliet Chamber: Drop Off Locations: Joliet City Hall - 150 W. Jefferson Street, Joliet, IL 60432. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. (questions / directions 815-724-4000, ask for Christa Desiderio) First Presbyterian Church - 805 Western Avenue, Joliet, IL 60435. Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. (questions / directions 815-727-9259) University of St. Francis - The Mother House, 520 Taylor Street, Joliet, IL 60435 (corner of Rt. 30 and Taylor - garages behind the Mother House). Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. (Questions / directions 815-740-3360) For more information, contact City of Joliet District 1 Councilman Larry Hug at 815-325-0875. "Volunteers to assist in collecting and loading the supplies would be appreciated. Our goal is one truckload full of supplies. Should we collect more than that, we will be in need of additional 14-foot 24-foot trucks and volunteer drivers."
Vanessa Holloway May 26, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Here is another drop off center. Morgan Perris salon located at 700 Pasquinelli Dr Suite A, Westmont, IL 60559 630-655-3331 Mon: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Tues - Thurs: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm Fri: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Sat: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Sun: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Donations are being accepted through June 4th. Both my aunt and cousin work there. All the donations will be forward to Joplin via Airgroup ORD, which is a freight forwarding company owned by my parents. Morgan Perris is collecting these items to ship to Joplin,we will accept anything you can give but this is needed most. non-perishable food (needs to be pull top cans) Baby supplies (including diapers, wipes, A&D Ointment, baby food and juices) deodrant soap & body wash Convenience food (snack type) diabetic montors w/ strips FIRST AID SUPPLIES! over the counter medications PET FOOD! Shampoo and Conditioner Soap Powders and Cleaning Supplies Sunscreen and Bug Spray towels Toilet Paper Toothpaste and Tooth Brushes Dish-washing soap Laundry Detergent Hand Sanitizer Ziploc Bags Feminine Products Kleenex Non-perishable Food Juice and Water Pet Food and Supplies Like · · Share
Shannon May 26, 2011 at 08:52 PM
The Village Christian Church in Minooka is making a trip to Joplin next week. Members of he Church are leaving on Friday June 3. They are also taking donations of the following items: Large Rubbermaid Containers Cardboard Boxes Tarps Trashbags Ziplock Bags Duct Tape / Strapping Tape Diapers Baby Food & Formula Can Openers Non-Perishable Non-canned food items Basic Hygiene Products (toothbrush, deodorant, Feminine products) Basic Medical Supplies (Tylenol, Bandages, etc) Water Chainsaws Bar Oil Empty Gas Cans Link to the church site: http://www.thevillagechristianchurch.com 815-467-2265
Shannon Antinori (Editor) May 26, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Thank you to everyone for posting your ideas and information. It's great to see so many people in the community so eager to help.
Amanda Luevano (Editor) May 26, 2011 at 10:32 PM
I wrote this hoping to give local residents just a few ways to help out, and I've been blown away by all of your suggestions! Thank you so much! It's so nice to see Patch readers willing to help the people of Joplin.
Jacki McHale May 27, 2011 at 03:33 PM
I'm excited that one of my friends is going with the Minooka church next Friday, and she can take the things I have down. Wish I could go, but right now I can not. Glad I have someone so close to me going.
Vanessa Holloway May 27, 2011 at 04:11 PM
I can take your donations if you would like and and bring them to Airgroup. Please email me if you have anything.
Michelle Iskowitz May 29, 2011 at 01:37 PM
It's always so heartening to see how many people show care and concern for others who are hit by devastation, whether it's on our home soil or internationally. And it's inspiring to see the resiliency and positive spirit of the victims. Out of tragedy, there are many examples to restore faith in humanity.
Mary Ann Lopez May 30, 2011 at 03:35 AM
The Morgan Perris Salon in Westmont is hosting a Rockin' for Joplin fundraiser on June 4 from 6 - 11 p.m. $15 cover charge gets you drinks and eats. Donate items in need and pay only $10. The salon is located at 700 Pasquinelli Drive, Suite A in Westmont.
Vanessa Holloway June 01, 2011 at 02:04 AM
Check out NBC news tonight at 10 p.m. Morgan Perris and its efforts will be featured at the end of the broadcast.

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