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Joe Heller l Green Bay Press Gazette

Furthermore …

Cash is best to comfort Oklahoma victims

The desire to send help to the people devastated by the massive tornado in Oklahoma on Monday is overwhelming. But the best way to send comfort and aid is by sending cold hard cash.

A truckload of teddy bears will inconvenience rather than help those struggling with the storm damage. Instead of sending stuff, send money.

“In disaster recovery, it is best to donate money to a legitimate relief agency that you know, trust and is working in the area,” said John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, in a news release. “Sending materials and food to areas hit by a disaster can cause problems with sorting, storage and distribution. It is best to send money rather than goods because it is more flexible. It allows volunteer organizations to more quickly obtain the supplies needed to address the most urgent needs.”

One option for Fort Wayne residents wanting to help is through a donation – of food or money – to Community Harvest Food Bank. The local agency is collecting ready-to-eat food items, such as granola bars, to help with Oklahoma disaster relief efforts.

Food bank officials are also stressing that the only things first responders in Oklahoma are asking for are these specific food items and financial donations. But donations to the food bank that don’t fit the needs of disaster relief for tornado victims will be used to help the hungry locally.

“We want to stress to well-meaning, generous individuals not to get creative about their donations and that it is imperative that they go through proper agencies to get their donations to the area instead of organizing a collection and driving it to the affected area themselves,” said Jane Avery, executive director of Community Harvest. “At this time, the only items we need are the easy food and financial donations. Anything else will only complicate the relief efforts.”