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Mississippians Help Neighbors In Tornado-Stricken Areas

By Evelina Burnett | Published 02 May 2014 09:04am | comments

Mississippians are reaching out to help those affected by Monday's tornadoes. As MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports, officials are urging potential volunteers to register or get in touch with organizations already on the ground.

Scafidi’s Restaurant in Bay St. Louis is serving up lunch, and gathering donations, like paper towels and other supplies, for tornado relief. A group from the Coastal Conservation Association Bay St. Louis Chapter has already taken the first batch of donations to Louisville this week, and is cooking for first responders and tornado victims. Joey Riette donated to that effort.

Danny Blue with Volunteer Mississippi says more than 240 volunteers have registered already on their website, VolunteerMississippi.org. That’s what state officials are urging interested volunteers to do now because the organization helps train, coordinate and dispatch volunteers into communities.

Blue says, closer to home, Mississippians can contribute by donating to groups working in the affected area - or giving in other ways, such as donating blood.

The Secretary of State says Mississippians can also check out charities registered to collect donations in the state at www.sos.ms.gov.

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Red Cross Response in Mississippi:

•             While power remains a challenge in some communities, electricity has been restored in others. Nonetheless, the Mississippi Region of the Red Cross has been providing relief to residents as they recover, with special attention to their emotional needs.

•             Almost 100 trained disaster workers are on the ground in hard-hit areas providing relief and comfort to affected communities, with more volunteer resources set to arrive today.

•             The Red Cross has delivered thousands of meals and snacks since the start of the operation and will continue to work with local faith-based groups and organizations such as Woodmen of the World.

•             Two shelters -- at the First Baptist Church in Louisville and at the Bancorp South Center in Tupelo -- remain open to provide a safe place to stay and warm food to eat.  About 75 residents stayed Wednesday night at the shelters.

•             The Red Cross has four emergency aid stations open, providing health services, mental health resources and vital information in Tupelo. A fifth site is being explored in Pearl at the Highlands Mobile Home Park.

o   Lane Chapel Church, 1509 North Madison Street, Tupelo, MS

o   West Jackson Street Baptist Church, 1349 West Jackson Street, Tupelo, MS

o   Saint Luke Methodist Church, 1400 Clayton Avenue, Tupelo, MS

o   Cop House, 1626 Lockridge, Tupelo, MS

•             In the coming days, the Red Cross will continue to work with local and state officials and community partners to address the needs of the people of Mississippi and help them on their road to recovery.

•             How to help: Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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