Midwest Tornadoes: How to Help

How you can help recent tornado victims rebuild their lives.

Missouri tornado, tornado victim, tornado destruction, tornadoes in the midwest
Carissa Westfall helps salvage products from Nature's Sunshine Health Foods in Branson, Missouri, after a massive tornado struck the town on February 29, 2012. (Photo: Sarah Conard/Reuters)
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

UPDATE: As predicted, the tornadoes did not let up this weekend. There were 42 tornadoes in 10 states across the South and the Midwest. At least 39 people have died. The Red Cross and Team Rubicon have been integral in the clean-up effort across the 10 states hit by the tornadoes. Information on how to donate to the rescue and recovery effort is below.


On February 29, tornadoes ravaged towns from Kansas to Kentucky. Hundreds were injured by the massive storm, and thus far, 12 people have died—six in Harrisburg, Illinois, three in Missouri, and three in Tennessee. Harrisburg, Illinois, was hit hardest by the storm, leaving more than 100 people injured and damaging at least 250 homes.

Thursday provided a bit of relief for these communities, but forecasters warn a new storm could form by Friday. Here's how you can help:

1. TEXT TO DONATE TO THE RED CROSS

Text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Red Cross workers in Missouri have opened shelters and are providing meals for displaced residents. In Kansas, rescue teams are searching for missing residents and preparing to open shelters and serve meals to those affected by the storm. Your donation will enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support, and other assistance in response to the disaster. 

* Message and data rates may apply. Text HELP to 90999 for info. Text STOP to unsubscribe.

2. DONATE TO TEAM RUBICON

Team Rubicon is an organization that utilizes the skills and experience of military vets in emergency situations across the U.S. They were instrumental in rebuilding Joplin, Missouri, after tornadoes devastated the city last year. Currently, Team Rubicon has deployed three Veteran Emergency Response Teams to Harveyville, Kansas, Branson Missouri, and Harrisburg, Illinois.


3. VOLUNTEER WITH CLEANUP EFFORTS

If you live near one of the communities hit by the storms, seek out volunteer opportunities and help with the cleanup effort. Relief efforts in Harrisburg, Illinois, are still being coordinated, but if you're interested in volunteering, call (618) 252-3732. Visit Volunteer Branson for information on how you can lend a helping hand in Branson, Missouri.


4. DONATE FUNDS TO VICTIMS IN HARRISBURG

The Southern Illinois Community Foundation has set up a Harrisburg Disaster Relief Fund and will be giving funds received from donors directly to the victims. You can donate online here or via mail. If you send a check, make it payable to Southern Illinois Community Foundation (or SICF), and in the memo line note Harrisburg Disaster Relief Fund. Send your check to:

Southern Illinois Community Foundation
3000 W. DeYoung St.,
Suite 800B
Marion, IL 62959

For information, contact (618) 997-3700 or go to www.sicf.org

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