I’m sitting 171 miles north of my in-laws front door’. That front door sits approximately 1.5 blocks from where Highland East Junior High was. That’s past tense because Monday afternoon the EF5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma demolished the school my husband once attended. My in-laws are safe, but most of their neighbors in that city are not.
I grew up in Tulsa. I went to the University of Oklahoma. I met my husband in Norman and spend a lot, I mean a lot, of weekends with his family in Moore. I was married in Edmond. I’m a Sooner. I’m an Okie. And to be a short three-hour drive away from home feels like I’m on the moon. I’m watching a storm from hell ravage this town again and I feel as helpless as people further away, people far less connected to that red earth.
My heart aches because I tirelessly texted, called, Facebooked, and waited to hear from a roll call of people I call friends and family yesterday. And that was all I could do. But like everyone else, I want to do more. My soul needs to do more. If I had it my way, I’d be covered in mud helping to clear debris. Or making sure moms had diapers for their babies. Or handing out much-needed water because the city’s supply has been turned off. I’d stand on a street corner and hug people because we all need one.
So for people like you and me who are watching this horror from what feels like too far away, I ask you to help in a few different ways. This we can do. Your nails won’t get dirty, you won’t share tears with new friends, and you won’t see the destruction for yourself, but you will make sure someone has a place to sleep tonight, gets a hot meal, and has a classroom in which to learn again this fall.
This organization is a champion for teacher and classroom needs, and since yesterday morning they’ve raised more than $29,000 in an exclusive fund that will go to help Moore teachers with whatever they need to help their students learn in a safe, equipped, and friendly environment once again.
The University of Oklahoma’s dorms emptied last week after the school year ended. Before sunrise this morning, they’d already taken in 100 families and will no doubt continue to fill those rooms, free of charge, to the many displaced families in Moore. The money collected here goes directly to students, faculty, and staff of the university who’ve been affected by this tornado – and that number isn’t expected to be a small one.
Oklahomans love good barbecue, so it’s fitting that what may be the most charitable food truck around is making its way to Moore right now. Help them feed victims and rescuers with a cash donation on their site or shop directly from their Amazon Wishlist.
This company sources healthy, local food and delivers it in communities like Austin, NYC, and Boston, but they are reaching out to help Moore. If you are in the area, have a car, and are willing to help, email them to volunteer your time and get quality food in to the victims’ hands.
The race to print T-shirts for charity is on. Creative design, quality tees, and a lot of heart will put you in some cool new duds and send much-needed funds to the people of Moore. So far, we like what we’re seeing from ShopGoodOKC and Tree and Leaf/TheOkaySee. Each is sending 100% of proceeds to local relief efforts.
A fellow HelloGiggles contributor and Oklahoman, Sarah Neal @Boldface, tweeted this today, “The outpouring of love and support for our state is overwhelming. Thank you.” I replied that, “everyone loves Oklahoma, sometimes they just don’t know it yet.”
I hope today you become one of our Oklahomies, too, and help our friends, our neighbors, our fellow humankind.
Featured image via