Story: Wildfires in Oklahoma

ImageAiden and his family lost their home when it was engulfed in one of the many wild fires that ravaged the State of Oklahoma this summer. His Grandmother, Melinda, brought he and his brothers and sisters to the Resource Center in Mannford, OK where the people of the community are able to connect with the American Red Cross and other partner agencies, to begin recovery.

Agencies like The Church of The Brethren; Children’s Disaster Services Team, are giving comfort during the crisis of disaster by providing care for children like Aiden, while the parents and Grandparents work with caseworkers to begin the next steps in what will be the road to healing.

“This Resource Center is a true blessing” Said Melinda of her experience at the center. “We don’t need stuff.” She says. “We need resources and money to move forward. It’s not about being handed a $20 so we can go buy stuff. It’s about being connected with agencies, like The Red Cross, that can use the money people donate to help us get our lives back.”

Though a donation of items always carries with it good intentions, the facilitation of these individual items requires valuable and often scarce resources including, time, money and personnel to sort, clean and distribute them. The value of the donated items is outweighed by the expense of the emergency activities that relief workers are attempting to perform.

In addition we cannot ensure that the donated items will be appropriate to the relief effort or that there would be enough to distribute equally to the survivors. For instance a donation of coats during a fire response in August would be inappropriate to the needs of the affected community.

Here is how YOU can help. If you have items that you would like to donate, have a garage sale. Sell the items and then take the profits of that sale and make a monetary donation to American Red Cross or another service agency in your area. The money you contribute will go to provide the assistance needed for people like Melinda and Aiden as they strive to move forward after disaster. 

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