The United Methodist Committee on Relief, the relief and development arm of the United Methodist Church, has been in contact with local partners after a mile-wide tornado claimed dozens of lives and injured hundreds in Moore, Okla., on Monday.
Greg Forrester, the executive in charge of U.S. Disaster Response for UMCOR, implored concerned persons to stay out of the way of first responders, who are still looking for survivors.
"Well-meaning people who arrive on-scene to help in the immediate aftermath of an event like this tend to get under foot and unintentionally divert important resources," he said. "First responders need time to do the work of locating survivors and securing the area. That work is still under way."
Currently, local partners are telling UMCOR that the most important ways that concerned individuals can help is through prayer and financial assistance.
Contributions to support relief and recovery in Moore and other parts of the United States after severe weather events like this can be made online through UMCOR US Disaster Response, Advance No. 901670. The advance is the official giving channel of the United Methodist Church. It guarantees that 100 percent of donations to a specific program are used only for that program and not for overhead or other administrative expenses, according to a news release.
Donations also can be made by calling toll free 1-800-554-8583 or by texting the word RESPONSE to 80888 to make an immediate $10 donation.
Relief kits will likely be needed, especially health kits and school kits. For information about how to assemble these, visit the UMCOR Relief Supplies page on UMCOR.org. Kits can be sent to any of the eight depots in the UMCOR Relief-Supply Network.
This marked the second bout of severe weather to strike Oklahoma in two days. On May 19, some 24 tornadoes tore through five states - Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois - and destroyed 300 homes. The town of Shawnee, Okla., where two people died, bore the brunt of the earlier outbreak.
UMCOR is the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church. Compelled by Christ to be a voice of conscience on behalf of the people called Methodist, UMCOR works globally to alleviate human suffering and advance hope and healing, the news release notes. To support UMCOR's work, donate online or over the phone by calling 1-800-554-8583; mail checks payable to UMCOR to P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY, 10087; or use offering envelopes to designate funds for UMCOR and put them in the offering plate at any UMC. UMCOR is a registered 501(c) (3) charity. All gifts are tax-deductible.