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Local Red Cross officials evaluating Oklahoma needs

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WAUSAU,WI (WSAU)  -  The Oklahoma tornado has many disaster relief teams helping victims with food, shelter, and emergency supplies. Regional Director Lora Hainy from American Red Cross in Wausau says their people are on the ground in Oklahoma now, but local volunteers have not been sent to the region at this time. “We have not sent anybody at this moment. We are looking at what are the needs being requested by the operation, and who do we have that is trained in the appropriate areas to meet those needs.”

The Oklahoma tornado has some people asking, “What can I do to help?” Hainy says the answer is easy, donate or volunteer. “The supplies that are coming in to that area are on a bulk scale, so we’re talking about semis filled with palletized water, semis filled with bleach products for any kind of disinfectant or clean up that needs to be done, so in order to support that, there’s a financial need.”

Some victims have unique circumstances and needs, which Hainy says is another reason financial donations help more victims faster. “They may have specific medicines that need to be replaced, or specific dietary requirements. In order to meet that, financially is the best way to support the operation.”

Hainy says many organizations including Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and food pantries in many locations move food and supplies from local shelves to disaster areas. That’s why she encourages people to donate food and other goods to the local services, to help restock what is already being sent to Oklahoma. Doing this not only helps the disaster relief, Hainy says it helps local organizations and it gives disaster response teams more valuable time to offer direct assistance instead of sorting supplies on scene.

More information about donating or volunteering can be found at the American Red Cross website.

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