In the aftermath of last week’s tornadoes in Oklahoma, the American Red Cross is working with its partners to support families and ensure children are adjusting to the new circumstances in their hometowns.
“You know what the secret to walking a dog is?” therapy dog handler Billy Thomas asks twins Sarah and Grant Haney, 5, as they try to get Thomas’ dog, Whiskey, to follow them.
“You keep walking,” said Thomas. “You walk the dog; you don’t let the dog walk you.”
Sarah and Grant were one of six children playing with Whiskey Wednesday at the daycare center set up by the Red Cross and Children’s Disaster Services at the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Westmoore High School in Moore, Okla.
They were being entertained by Thomas and his dog while their mom, Starla, met with representatives from the different government, nonprofit and religious organizations that are present at the MARC providing services to area residents who were affected by the tornadoes.
Some kids, like 12-year-old Carlen Liebe, are taking action by becoming volunteers. Carlen’s father, Lenard Liebe, is a Red Cross disaster officer. After the tornado struck Moore, he was sent from Edmond, Okla., to Moore to help with the disaster relief efforts.
Carlen and her mother, Lisa, decided to join him as volunteers and were assigned to the Multi-Agency Resource Center in Westmoore High School, one of four resource centers that have been set up as one-stop disaster relief sites.
Carlen’s duties included keeping an updated list of the agencies present at the resource center and directing clients to the different agencies.
“The best part about volunteering is knowing that I am helping out people that really need help and making sure they get the help they need,” said Carlen.
Her mom smiles with pride as she watches her daughter carry out her daily duties. “She’s been very professional,” said Lisa Liebe. “She’s really stood out.”
The Red Cross Response
Since two severe tornadoes hit Shawnee and Moore, Okla., on May 19 and 20, the Red Cross has brought staff, equipment and supplies from across the country to help the survivors. This is a large response that has included:
You can help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.