Recovery after the EF-3 tornado that hit Jefferson City nearly a month ago is at least in some ways pivoting toward a long-term focus and response organizations are adapting.
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"Right now, we're at that in-between stage where immediate debris removal and a lot of those things have happened, so now, moving more into some of those more skilled labors," Theresa Verslues, vice president of the United Way of Central Missouri, told community members gathered Friday for a Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce event.
The News Tribune watched a recording of the chamber event that featured local leaders who spoke on the response and recovery after the May 22 tornado and the ongoing flooding that rose at the same time.
Sunday is the last day for residents of Jefferson City or Cole County to properly place debris for pickup by public works crews.
A dropoff site for city residents who wish to dispose of vegetative debris from the tornado will be open until June 30 at 2619 N. Shamrock Road in Jefferson City, open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
More information on debris removal and other tornado recovery resources in Jefferson City is available at jeffersoncitymo.gov.
In the next week or so, Verslues said, members of the United Way's Unmet Needs Committee will do training with the State Emergency Management Agency on long-term recovery.
"What we need is people to donate money. There are so many things that just pop up that can't be donated," Cheryl Unterschutz told the News Tribune on Friday of what assistance Central Missouri Community Action needs from people who want to help support the shelter that the agency opened with Columbia College at Banks Hall in Columbia after the tornado. Unterschutz is CMCA's public relations manager.
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She said money can be used to replace lost items such as prescription reading glasses or medications or to pay to move possessions to a new home.
"We have a lot of people who lost their medications," she said.
"Those types of things are popping up every day," and probably will over the next several weeks and months, she said.
Unterschutz said 20 individuals from eight families had been referred to the shelter at Columbia College since it opened, and as of Friday, there were 14 people from six families staying there.
As far as she knew, Unterschutz said all of the people had come from Jefferson City.
No residents impacted by the May 22 tornado in Jefferson City or Eldon remain in American Red Cross shelters, because the consolidated shelter at Russellville Baptist Church has closed, officials said Friday.
The shelter in Russellville opened June 10, transitioning eight residents from Jefferson City from the shelter that had been at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
"Everyone from the Eldon shelter actually found housing and did not have to transition," said Sharon Watson, who is chief communication officer for the American Red Cross in Missouri and Arkansas.
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Watson said five patrons stayed in Russellville overnight Wednesday but by the next afternoon, "all of the residents in that shelter had a place to go."
A Red Cross shelter in response to flooding and tornadoes in Central Missouri remains open in Boonville at Open Bible Praise Center, 16991 Missouri 87.
Eight people stayed there overnight Wednesday, according to a Thursday news release.
The Community Distribution Center set up at Capital West Christian Event Center in Jefferson City after the tornado has changed its hours, according to a news release Friday from the United Way of Central Missouri.
The distribution center will be closed this weekend due to the change in its operational hours, which are now 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The distribution center, located at 1315 Fairgrounds Road in Jefferson City, is operated by Adventist Community Services and Capital West Christian Church.
Amber Hall, a member of the 2012 Leadership Jefferson City class of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, told the gathering Friday that sales of #JCSTRONG T-shirts have totaled more than $27,000 and Bartlett & West would give enough money to reach an even $30,000 to donate to the American Red Cross.
More than 4,000 T-shirts have been sold; the original goal was to sell 500, Hall said.
Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin told the crowd the tornado has prompted some forward-thinking discussions about preparedness.
"I think it also has caused us to think about our disaster plan, and if you haven't, I encourage you to do so," Tergin said. "A lot of businesses and homes after this have said they're talking with their families and their employees about, 'What would they have done if this was during the day? What would you have done with your business? How would you have handled it?' Unfortunately, those are things that, for a lot of us, are an afterthought."