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Capital City responds to Joplin disaster

Capital City responds to Joplin disaster

May 24th, 2011 in News

Mark Siler carries some salvageable items from the house of his friend, Clay Warden, as another storm approaches Joplin on Monday. Warden's house was destroyed by Sunday's tornado.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

Jefferson City-area relief agencies, civics clubs and businesses are among those gearing up to respond to the tornado-devastated areas in Joplin.

Below is just a sampling of the local groups and people who are responding to the disaster. See the bottom of this article for additional information about drop off locations, listed under "How You Can Help."

Red Cross

The Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross understands the essence of residents wanting to help out their neighbors in Joplin. The group, however, is asking for monetary donations, earmarked for the Joplin disaster.

"We are requesting monetary donations only because they are doing search and rescue efforts and not allowing people into the areas," Beth Bauer said.

Bauer, CEO of the Capital Area Chapter, also encouraged those searching for loved ones to go to

Numerous Facebook pages have been created for those looking for missing loved ones. In memory of the 116 confirmed dead, for pets and pet rescue/connection, found personal items and more. Each page is filled with users seeking to volunteer. Many of those pages direct interested volunteers and donors to contact the Red Cross for the lead in what will be most needed and effective.

"We are not accepting spontaneous volunteers at this point," Bauer said. "There is a great deal of training for disasters, and we are sending already trained volunteers.

Gabe Hulsey, president of the Red Cross board, said the need for medically and mental health-trained volunteers is the greatest.

"It is not fair for the volunteers or clients to send unprepared volunteers to help when there is such a great need for their physical and mental health at this time," he said.

The Capital Area Chapter currently has 20 volunteers deployed across the state and country. Bauer said while local disasters still are occurring, they are responding with volunteers locally as well.

Currently three Red Cross staffers are at SEMA helping man the operations center. Bauer noted there has been a call for the Red Crosses' Emergency Response Vehicles, and when those are stocked and sent to Joplin, local volunteers will accompany it.

Missouri National Guard

The Missouri National Guard has deployed about 140 soldiers to assist with search-and-rescue missions, plus members of the Joint Task Force Communications Kit based in Jefferson City. Also responding are the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of Jefferson City and the Joint Operations Center at Joint Force Headquarters in Jefferson City.

They will conduct various missions in the upcoming days, including emergency route clearance, communications support, door-to-door safety visits and security.

Spc. Daniel Brown of the 117th Engineer Team said his unit was the first to respond and worked throughout the night Sunday night. He said they spent the night searching through rubble in Walmart and a sports store.

"This is something nobody wants to see, and thankfully we haven't needed to save anyone yet," he said.

River City Habitat

River City Habitat for Humanity asks that anyone interested in rebuilding efforts in Joplin during the upcoming weeks to call the local affiliate at 635-8439. The local affiliate will start a list of interested people, which will be passed along to the national Habitat International.

Interested volunteers also can e-mail, if they choose.

United Way

Ann Bax, president of the United Way of Central Missouri, said her agency has had several calls this morning from potential volunteers.

She said the United Way is seeking medically certified volunteers, and urged them to call 211, the United Way's toll-free number based in St. Louis. People who want to volunteer in other capacities are asked to wait between two and five days, then to call 211. An alternative number to call is 800-427-4626.

Those with medical skills interested in volunteering also can go to


The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) continues to work with state and local agencies to deploy all available response resources to Joplin. Search and rescue and other emergency operations were expected to continue through the night.

In response, the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the Red Cross has established a shelter at Missouri Southern State College, 3950 E. Newman Road, Joplin, MO 64801. The shelter facility is the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center. The facility can also accommodate pets.

Responders are being coordinated through established regional mutual aid agreements and requests filed with SEMA for state and federal resources.

Missourians wishing to make donations to help with the relief effort can go to

Residents affected by the tornado who wish to notify their friends and family that they are safe should use the Website Friends and family who would like to check on their loved ones in the affected area can use the same site.

Humane Society

At the request of the SEMA, the Humane Society of Missouri is sending a 15-member disaster response team to Joplin to rescue and shelter pets affected by the tornado.

The team consists of professionals trained in emergency animal rescue and shelter operations, and includes a veterinarian to care for sick and injured animals.

The HSMO Field Assessment Team will canvass the area searching for and rescuing injured and displaced pets.

In conjunction with Joplin Animal Control, the Humane Society's Sheltering Team will assist in the operation of an animal shelter on the campus of Missouri Southern State University. Persons being housed at the shelter at MSSU will be able to place their pets at this animal shelter.

The HSMO Sheltering Team also will set up and operate a separate emergency shelter with the capacity to care for several hundred pets of persons who are not being sheltered at the university.

At this time, monetary donations are encouraged. Persons wishing to make donations to assist animal rescue efforts can do so at


Hy-Vee's corporate headquarters are sending four semi-truck loads of gallon containers of water and several cases of work gloves to Joplin.

Paula Correy, senior vice president of the store's western region, said the water left the store's distribution center about noon on Monday. Hy-Vee will work with the Red Cross to distribute the items.

"Although we do not have a store in Joplin, we are a big part of the state of Missouri, and have many Hy-Vee family members affected by this devastation."

Jefferson City Jaycees

The Jefferson City Jaycees will take donations at the fairgrounds today and Wednesday from 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.

They are seeking bottled water, blankets, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, toiletries, diapers (adult and baby) and large storage containers.

Cash and checks also will be accepted. Make checks payable to the Jefferson City Jaycees. The money will be consolidated into one larger donation.

Missouri Lions

The Lions of Missouri have applied for and received a $100,000 emergency grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation.

In an e-mail to Lions members, District Governor Debbie Whittlesey said, "We will be good stewards of any monies that are sent to us."

First Baptist Church

A group of church members plan to travel to Joplin today and later in the week to bring donated supplies. Mostly, they are seeking donations of bottled water and Walmart gift cards.

"Our prayers are with the people of Joplin following the devastating tornado that has accounted for many deaths and loss of homes and businesses," a special e-mailed edition of the church newsletter said.

How You Can Help

Drop off points for monetary donations include: Samuel's Tuxedos, 236 E. High St., First United Methodist Church, 201 Monroe St., Hy-Vee Grocery Store, JCMG at both the main and orthpaedic clinic, Riley Chevrolet, Riley Toyota, Capital City Chrysler, Corwin Honda and Hundi and Mike Kehoe Ford and Lincoln.

Cash or checks made out to the Capital City Area Red Cross Chapter noted for Disaster Relief can be dropped off at the Red Cross office, 431 E. McCarty St.

Contact Sam Bushman, Samuel's Tuxedos 634-7265, Pat Rowe Kerr, 462-9531 or the Capital Area Chapter Red Cross, 635-1132, for more information.

Jefferson City Red Cross Blood Services is holding several blood drives to help support the surge in donations and need for blood products in the Joplin area.

Blood donations can be made from 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday.

Donations can also be made from 2-6 p.m. today at Cargill, in California, and 2:30-6:30 p.m. at Burgers in California.

Text "Red Cross" to 90999 and a $10 donation will be made to the American Red Cross.