Captain Kelly Durant of the Miami-area Salvation Army was prepping for a 14-day tour of duty in the Moore, Oklahoma tornado strike zone Tuesday evening. Once there, his mission will be to replenish the faith of tornado victims who've lost so much.
"I'll be connecting with each person, seeing how I can help them overcome the trauma of all the suffering that they're going through," he said.
While Captain Durant gives moral support on the ground, South Florida charities are pledging support too. Many of those agencies said they have not forgotten how Oklahoma was there for us more than two decades ago, when we needed their help.
"When Andrew hit here, and I was working as part of the relief team, I got a phone call from this church out of Oklahoma," recalled Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami.
Agosta said Oklahoma's Catholic community raced to help South Florida in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. She said our needs then are much like theirs now.
"Housing, shelter, rentals," Ross Agosta pointed out. "Hotel rooms, houses that can rent outside the general area."
To meet those needs, South Florida's Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Catholic Charities, and Salvation Army are all seeking donations.
"We don't care what amount, how small it is, how large you can spare, but the people are in dire straits," said Ross Agosta.
Often, in days after disasters, faith-based groups are among the first to respond. Greater Miami Jewish Federation President Jacob Solomon has an idea why.
"We really understand the power of community, and when people are hurting, and community comes together to provide support, relief, financial assistance," Solomon said. "There's nothing more powerful than feeling like you're not alone."
HOW TO HELP:
www.SalvationArmyUSA.org, or text "STORM" to 80888 for a $10 gift
www.redcrossblood.org, or text "REDCROSS" to 90999 for a $10 gift. O negative blood types can schedule appointments at the American Red Cross' website.
For Catholic Charities Donations, mail checks made out to "Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami" with "Oklahoma" in the memo line to 1505 NE 26th St., Wilton Manors, FL 33305.
For the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, mail checks made out to "Greater Miami Jewish Federation" with "Oklahoma Tornadoes Relief Fund" in the memo line to 4200 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137.
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