It’s been less than a week since two major tornadoes hit Oklahoma—first in Shawnee, and one day later, in Moore. The American Red Cross has been providing food, comfort and shelter since the storms hit, and will be there for many days to come.
On Thursday night, more than 600 people spent the night in Red Cross and community shelters in Oklahoma. More than 350 Red Cross workers, along with thousands of new volunteers who have offered to help, are in the state.
Partnering with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Red Cross has served more than 24,000 meals and snacks so far. The Red Cross also has 41 emergency response vehicles distributing food and relief supplies throughout affected neighborhoods.
Over the holiday weekend, Red Cross workers will be making a larger push to distribute relief supplies. More than 5,000 relief items have already been distributed, including comfort kits containing personal toiletries, and recovery supplies such as coolers, buckets, gloves, dust masks, trash bags, flashlights, tarps, shovels, rakes and blankets.
ON A MISSION TO HELP OTHERS
Dana Tulk and Mark Love drove in from Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday to deliver meals to residents of Moore, Okla. On Thursday they served lunch, packed that morning by the Southern Baptist Convention. Roads were blocked and rain was pouring down, but Tulk and Love were determined to get the meals to people who needed them.
With a smile and an apple to give to police and members of the military who are manning the roads, Tulk nodded and thanked everyone for their work. He has been in this situation once before—in Joplin, Mo.—and has seen this type of destruction.
"This brings back a lot of memories for me…so much destruction and so many people who need our help. I am happy to be out here to serve meals to people," said Tulk.
Love is part of a Red Cross Disaster Action Team in Wichita, but this is his first deployment to a disaster relief operation. He is friendly and determined, and takes enormous pride in working with the Red Cross.
"I really like helping people; I know it sounds simple, but I can't put it in any other words," said Love.
A tattoo on his arm says "Guardian," which he explains means "To protect and defend." This is why he volunteers for the Red Cross—to be there for people when they need help.
When they arrived at their destination, they were met by a mobile aid station carrying supplies such as mops, rakes and dust masks.
Marcus and his son Marcus Jr. were looking for water and hydration. Their house was completely destroyed, so they have nothing left. They took shelter in a closet during the storm, and when they emerged, their home was gone. They are now cleaning up and trying to sort through what is left. Bobby Bordeaux, a Red Cross volunteer from Louisiana, handed them two bags filled with water and ice. "Bless you," said Marcus.
As they left, Love said, "I hope we can help more people like them today. I know there are more out here, and it is my mission to help them as much as I can."
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