Tornado-relief supplies headed to Oklahoma

Lisa Sandbothe hugs her boyfriend, Jefferson City Coca-Cola employee John Otto, while wishing him safe travels as he prepares to climb into the driver’s seat Friday and embark from Concord Baptist Church on a relief mission to deliver supplies to tornado victims in Moore, Okla. Jefferson City Coca-Cola donated the truck, fuel and several pallets of water to accompany Otto, Concord executive pastor Peter Livingston, and his son Josh Livingston on their relief mission to Oklahoma.

Lisa Sandbothe hugs her boyfriend, Jefferson City Coca-Cola employee John Otto, while wishing him safe travels as he prepares to climb into the driver’s seat Friday and embark from Concord Baptist Church on a relief mission to deliver supplies to tornado victims in Moore, Okla. Jefferson City Coca-Cola donated the truck, fuel and several pallets of water to accompany Otto, Concord executive pastor Peter Livingston, and his son Josh Livingston on their relief mission to Oklahoma. Photo by Kris Wilson.

After 10 days of collecting items for tornado victims in Oklahoma, a truck left Jefferson City on Friday afternoon to deliver them.

“For the most part, it’s been a lot people bringing what they could as opposed to corporate sponsors putting in a bunch of items,” said Pete Livingston, Concord Baptist Church executive pastor, who along with his wife, Debbie, helped organize the effort.

Their son is a children’s pastor at an Oklahoma City church the couple served at which is serving as a relief center.

The Livingstons served at that same church when another tornado hit the area in 1999.

“One lady just brought a bunch of gloves she bought at a store,” Livingston said. “She told us that a man behind her in the check-out line gave her money to get more and later another person handed her $50 to get more. This has been more of an effort where people are doing what they can. Not everyone can get to Oklahoma City. This has been a bunch of normal, everyday people trying to help normal everyday people, and it’s really cool to see.”

Livingston said they had volunteers constantly sorting and getting items ready to distribute when they are taken off the truck.

“We had people who worked after the Joplin tornado and Hurricane Katrina, and they knew what’s needed,” he said. “Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m in the way.”

Livingston said it’s also been good to see other local churches help.

“It’s not about one church,” he said. “In fact, over 90 percent of Red Cross meals are provided by faith-based groups who get it and prepare it, and the Red Cross delivers them. Non-profit groups get the job done faster, and it doesn’t require federal assistance.

The Jefferson City Coca-Cola Bottling Company donated the truck and driver to take the items to Oklahoma.

“We believe that we should reach out for those who have a need and not wait for another entity to take care of it,” Livingston said.

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