Oklahoma Disaster Relief Update
On May 20, 2013, the community of Moore, Oklahoma was devastated by an EF-5 tornado. In its wake, the residents of Moore and surrounding areas have pulled together, with the support from people around the nation, to begin the process of rebuilding.
The Church of God has responded to the need for donations to fund food, water, housing, and supplies for those affected by the disaster. The greatest need is no longer for these items, but, rather for monetary support and volunteers to assist with clean-up. Church of God Ministries continues to receive funds to aide in the relief efforts. To make your gift to Disaster Relief visit http://www.chog.org/node/255.
We have received updates from Church of God pastors and agencies in the area: In communicating with the president of the Oklahoma Assembly of the Church of God, Church of God Ministries has learned that churches in the Moore area are working together in a spirit of collaboration and hope to address the needs of the communities affected by the tornado.
Crossings Community Church (Oklahoma City, OK)—Over 600 Crossings volunteers worked during the past week to handle the clean-up needs of church members and others at their sister congregations in Moore, OK. Crossings has joined with other local churches to coordinate resources, volunteer efforts, and work teams through a central point, Serve Moore, based in the heart of the Moore community.
Churches who would like to send work camps to assist with cleanup will need to contact Serve Moore via www.servemoore.com.
Fresh Start Community Church (Moore, OK)—Fresh Start is currently the Church of God base station for volunteers and is the central point for distribution of basic necessities—food, water, and supplies in the affected communities. Teams are dispersed into areas that have been deemed safe for recovery of personal items.
Shartel Church of God (Oklahoma City, OK)—Shartel has facilities to provide housing for work groups of 50 or fewer that come to help with the relief effort through Serve Moore. The church is also handling requests from families who are without basic necessities—having lost their homes and transportation. They are distributing gift cards and cash to meet these emergency needs.
The following update was provided by President John Fozard of Mid-America Christian University (MACU), with a request to share with the church-at-large:
The MACU Campus during the Tornado
The main campus of Mid-America Christian University, which is just a couple of miles from the epicenter of the devastation, was not directly hit. The faculty, staff, and students who were on campus took shelter in the basement of the Student Center as soon as the tornado warning sounded.
By Wednesday morning, with most of the MACU family contacted, it became evident that the tornado had destroyed, or left uninhabitable, nearly 20 homes belonging to MACU students, faculty, and staff. President Fozard activated a MACU Response Team which was tasked with developing and facilitating strategic responses in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, as well as with organized relief efforts.
Many MACU students went to work Wednesday morning partnering with area churches, including Fresh Start Community Church in Moore, cleaning peripheral neighborhoods. Our students were also part of a significant turnout to help prepare Moore Cemetery for Memorial Day events, and impending funerals.
The Response Team has been strategic in Tornado Relief Initiatives
Here is a list of our current efforts:
- MACU is providing emergency housing for members of the Mid-America family displaced or severely impacted by the tornado. Several families are currently housed in MACU emergency dorm housing.
- MACU is providing lodging for Department of Public Safety Officers. Because of our proximity to the affected site, MACU was asked by the Oklahoma DPS to help provide lodging for police officers who are present to help secure the devastated areas day and night.
- MACU is providing lodging for church and organized relief teams. In just the first week of relief efforts, MACU has already housed around 100 relief workers.
- MACU Employees are working as Volunteer Teams. As Department of Public Safety police officers and relief teams come and go from MACU housing, volunteers are cleaning dorm rooms, bathrooms, and showers, as well as changing and washing bed linens and towels.
- MACU volunteers have been receiving, organizing, and distributing relief items at the MACU Drop-Off Site at the Gaulke Activity Center. We are tailoring and announcing the items that are needed by our community on a daily basis on Facebook and on the university website www.MACU.edu
Ways You can help the Moore Relief Efforts
If you wish to support MACU Tornado Relief efforts, you may do so easily and securely at www.TornadoRelief.macu.edu These donations will be used solely to provide for MACU families impacted by the tornado, and to help accommodate relief organizations staying in dorm rooms and in the Gaulke Activity Center.
Please Check with On-Ground Contacts before Sending Organized Relief Teams
Churches that desire to bring a work group to Moore should contact “Serve Moore” at www.servemoore.com, hotline 1-866-735-3060 or 405-735-3060 to receive information on the type of assistance that will be most useful at this time.
In the near future, rebuilding projects will be essential to the community. If you would like to bring a team and need a place to stay, please email: ResponseTeam@macu.edu and we will endeavor to accommodate your schedule. If we are unable, we may be able to recommend others who are also assisting.