Several organizations and individuals are helping victims of the Joplin tornado. Here's how you can get involved and help those affected by the deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1953:
- The American Red Cross has set up a page for Missouri tornado and flood relief.
Feeding America is seeking donations to secure and distribute non-perishable food, emergency cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items. You can call (800) 771-2303 or donate online
The Joplin Red Cross could use some donations. You can contact it at (417) 624-4411 or firstname.lastname@example.org in order to find out what supplies are most necessary.
- 211 Missouri is helping organize volunteers in the affected areas. More information can be found by calling (800) 427-462.
- Nurses or doctors looking to help can call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross.
- Health professionals can register to volunteer through the Show-Me Response website.
- For those in the Joplin area: Emergency Pet Center of the Four States at 7th & Illinois near the Sonic is OPEN and accepting found/injured animals. Its phones are down at this time.
- The "Animals Lost & Found from the Joplin, Mo tornado" Facebook page is tracking lost and found pets
- Lost & Found Tornado Pets 2011 on Flickr shows photos of found animals and contact information.
- The National Americorp Volunteersare setting up a national hotline for residents to call to check on loved ones. The number is (417) 659-5464 and should be active later today.
- The American Red Cross has set up a site on which you can check in, report on the safety of others, or look for information on loved ones.
- The "Joplin people accounted for after the storm"Facebook page is helping people track loved ones who fell out of touch during the storm.
- The St. John's Health Systemhas been updating its Facebook page regularly with information relevant to the aftermath of the storm.
- The recently organized "Joplin Volunteer & Outreach Station" Facebook page appears to be focused on aiding relief efforts.
- The "Joplin Tornado Citizen Checks (neighbors helping neighbors!)" Facebook page appears to be a gathering place for a lot of Joplin locals who are in need of aid or able to provide aid to others.
- The "Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery" Facebook page is one of the bigger ones dedicated to aid efforts and contains a great deal of up-to-the-second information on where help is necessary.
Some words of caution
While giving is good and your intentions are great, be aware that there are individuals who might attempt to take advantage of your kindness. Read up on the charities or organizations to which you are donating funds or supplies. You can use sites such as Charity Navigator — a service run by a non-profit organization that has information on more than 5,000 charities and evaluates the groups' financial health — to confirm that everything's on the up and up.