Mangled trees amid destruction in Moore, OK after May 20, 2013 tornado.
Mangled trees are all that remain of Moore, Okla. neighborhood after May 20, 2013 tornado.
Photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

BDM offers advice on how to help tornado survivors 

Jane Yount 
May 23, 2013

The monstrous EF5 tornado that plowed through Moore, Okla. on Monday, May 20 claimed 24 lives, including 10 children, and destroyed over 1,000 homes.  In the wake of this horrific disaster, Brethren Disaster Ministries offers advice on the most practical ways that people can help.

First of all, BDM asks for prayers for the Children's Disaster Services (CDS) teams deployed in Red Cross Family Assistance Centers in the Moore, Okla. area, (CDS teams arrived today rather than yesterday, as earlier anticipated.)  The CDS team includes four Critical Response Childcare volunteers.  These volunteers have additional training to help children and families cope with extreme trauma and loss of loved ones.

Secondly, BDM asks everyone to remember that a cash donation is the most helpful gift you can give right now.  Why?  A little folded dollar bill explains in this computer-animated PSA by the Donate Responsibly Campaign.  Unsolicited material donations often create chaos and interfere with staging and delivery of the most needed goods.  Cash allows response agencies to obtain what is most needed, where and when.

BDM is receiving monetary gifts for the Emergency Disaster Fund at  Gifts can also be mailed to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.  These gifts will support the CDS response and BDM's support of CWS relief shipments.  BDM has already released an initial grant of $4,000 for the CWS efforts.

Another very important thing people can do right now is donate blood.  When was the last time you've given blood?  If you have never given blood, now’s a good time to start.

Finally, be patient.  Disaster recovery lasts much longer than the media attention.  Brethren Disaster Ministries is most active in long-term recovery, long after the TV cameras have been turned off.

You can learn more about “How to Help Tornado Survivors” from National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster at  BDM is a longtime member of National VOAD.