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Five Ways to Help Tornado Victims

On April 25, a devastating tornado twisted and turned its way through Yazoo County, Mississippi, taking entire towns with it. Ten people lost their lives in the destruction, and given the power of the tornado, we can be thankful that more lives were not taken. However, hundreds of people are left homeless, left with nothing but the clothes they donned the day the tornado hit.

As local residents begin to pick up whatever pieces they can find, we all know that they simply cannot do it alone. These tornado victims may be homeless, but itís up to all of us to be sure they are not helpless. We all certainly can do something to make their recovery a little easier.

Here are five ways we can all help:

1) Dig into your pocket.
It canít be said enough Ė your monetary donations are most needed in times of disaster and go a very long way. Charitable organizations, like the American Red Cross, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency are on the ground now and in desperate need of financial donations to help purchase clothes, food, medicine and other supplies for the tornado victims. These organizations, experts in philanthropy, know how to stretch a dollar wisely. More often than not, your dollar is worth more in their hands than in your own. And donít be fooled into thinking that you donít have enough to give that would make a difference. Every dollar truly does help.

2) Help pick up the pieces, literally.
The organization, Volunteer Mississippi, has already begun registering volunteers to help with various hands-on needs. If you live close, go to Volunteer Mississippiís website and register now, or call (888) 353-1793. When volunteers are needed to help clear away rubble or tend to the victims, youíll be called.

3) Encourage your company to donate in bulk.
If you work for a food service company, or a beverage company, or a household supplies company, perhaps you can be the one to encourage the ďpowers that beĒ to donate items in bulk. After a disaster like this one, food and water are in high demand, as are paper products, diapers, and other products of daily living. You can contact the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for more information.

4) Teach your children how to help.
Many people shelter their children from disasters like this one; many parents think itís better for children not to know about such horrible realities. However, children are the most empathetic creatures of the entire human race, and their ability to understand should not be underestimated. By letting your children see how others are suffering from the loss of loved ones, or from the destruction of their homes and personal property, you are taking the first step toward raising a charitable child. Tell them how natural disasters are rare, but when they do happen, we are all responsible as member of the human race to reach out and help. Encourage them to take money from their piggy banks to make a personal donation. And assure your children that one day, if they ever need help, they can rest assured it will be there for them too.

5) Say a little prayer or two.
If you believe in the power of prayer, now would be a great time to put it to use. Pray that the victims can find their way through this tragedy and emerge in tact. Pray that those who have lost loved ones in the tornado can cope with their grief and move on peacefully. Pray that the clean-up and rebuilding is done swiftly. Donít believe in prayer? Then simply keep the tornado victims in your thoughts, and do what you can to help.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer, call the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency at 888-353-1793 or visit msema.org.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Volunteer Mississippi
American Red Cross

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