Donations intended to help families recover from a Mid-Missouri tornado and ongoing flooding continue to flow into the United Way of Central Missouri.
The organization is determined to be good stewards of that money, said Ann Bax, the nonprofit's president.
To date — and not counting $200,000 it set aside for disaster recovery — the local United Way has received about $300,000 in monetary donations following the May 22 tornado that hit Jefferson City.
"We know that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who need help," Bax said. "These dollars will help families make a whole new start."
Central Missouri is moving into a long-term recovery — the case management process after the storm.
Catholic Charities of Central and Northeast Missouri is responsible for case management and will assess the disaster-caused unmet needs of individuals and families and link them to resources. The organization will determine which donated "durable goods" — such as beds, televisions, appliances, art, bedding and other items — the tornado and flood victims should receive.
"We're looking at 465 families who will need case management," Bax said.
In Cole County and Jefferson City, 611 buildings sustained enough damage during the tornado to be listed on a preliminary assessment report released last week.
The EF-3 tornado was first reported in Miller County shortly before 11 p.m. and within an hour had crossed through parts of Miller and Cole counties and slammed into eastern Jefferson City.
A donated goods distribution site was set up at Capital West Christian Church immediately after the storm. That site is expected to close Wednesday. It remains available for people affected by flooding or the tornado to pick up "consumable items," such as paper products, soaps, cleaners, food and other items they need immediately.
Three other locations near the storm path in Jefferson City have agreed to act as distribution sites: Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, 415 Lafayette St.; The Salvation Army Center of Hope, 927 Jefferson St.; and Building Community Bridges, 213 E. Ashley St. A fourth site is under consideration but has not been finalized.
The United Way received a sizable donation of $50,000 for storm recovery from Phillips 66 on Monday. Derick Gipson, Phillips 66 area supervisor for Missouri, said administrators in Houston called to see what they could do to help in Jefferson City the day after the tornado.
"The company does a lot of philanthropy throughout the year," Gipson said. "Folks from Houston just wanted to help with disaster relief."
The tornado struck while a number of the company's employees and contractors are in town. Phillips 66 employs 15 people year-round in Jefferson City. However, right now, up to 300 workers are in Jefferson City to replace a 10-inch gas line — 10 miles going east of town and 20 going west, Gipson said.
The company's large donation shouldn't overshadow the donations people make every day to the United Way, Bax said.
"Every gift is making a huge difference," she said. "The campaign gifts matter as much as these."
Each year, the United Way conducts a fundraising campaign to help fund its 28 partner agencies, which provide services to the community. The last two campaigns have been wildly successful, and in early March, the organization announced a search for a 29th partner.
United Way of Central Missouri campaigns have raised more than $2 million each of the past two years, in great part through donations from individuals. This year, campaign organizers set the goal at $2.1 million.