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Short background: I grew up in Neosho, which is about 15 minutes south of Joplin, Missouri. Neosho is a small town, so we teenagers spent a lot of time in Joplin. Now, 11 years after graduation, many of my friends live in Jopin, and my mom does too. She lived in the Plaza Apartments, actually, which are about a quarter mile NE of the Home Depot, if you’ve seen any pictures of that destruction. She is safe and so is the family cat, Naveed, but she–and everyone–has lost so much. The tornado there is devastating, both physically and emotionally.
I just got off the phone with Besty Leighninger in Joplin who works at MSSU and helped at the Red Cross center there yesterday. She gave me a lot of really great information and I think a blog post is more efficient way to disseminate it than several posts on Facebook or Twitter.
Do not take clothing to the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center on the MSSU campus. Those donations need to go to local shelters and churches (see list below).
Places to Take Clothing Donations
Unless otherwise stated, the location is Joplin.
- The Bridge — 3405 S. Hammons Blvd. 417.206.6886
- Clothing Drive at Battlefield Mall — going on at least today, May 24 —
- College Heights Christian Church (also asking for duct tape) — 4311 E. Newman Rd. 417.624.6915
- College View Baptist Church — 1602 N. Duquesne Rd. 417.781.5025 — Also serving as a 24-hour volunteer service center, so if you need a place to sleep or shower or eat, this is the place to go.
- Ignite Church (also asking for trash bags) — 710 N. Maiden Ln. 417.438.6840
- Neosho YMCA — 4701 Chouteau Dr., Neosho, MO, 417.455.9999
- Neosho Junior and Senior High School — 511 S. Neosho Blvd, Neosho, MO, 417.451.8670
If you are going directly to Joplin or a surrounding area, take fresh fruits and veggies. They have an abundance of chips and Twinkies and packaged food, but when a couple bags of bananas were dropped off at the Red Cross center set up at MSSU, they were gone in minutes.
Don’t forget that food banks will need to be restocked next week and the week after that and the week after that. If you want to get donations to the area but aren’t going yourself, remember big donation centers like Convoy of Hope, but I’ll make trips there if there’s a need.
- bags of baby carrots
- veggie trays
- fruit and applesauce cups, along with plastic spoons
Other Needed Items
People who are working through the wreckage of their homes need packing supplies, both flat boxes and packing tape, along with water-proof containers, like Rubbermaid tubs. Trash bags are helpful too.
The Red Cross Greater Ozarks Chapter is asking for diabetic foods and snacks and office supplies like ink pens, as well as paper goods like paper plates and cups. They need an ink cartridge for Brother model MFC-290C printer, and the Safe and Well center in Leggett and Platt Athletic Center needs copy paper. If you are going to Joplin, please drop these off at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center on the MSSU campus.
You can also take diabetic syringes and medicine to Tim Mitchell at the Family Pharmacy in the Price Cutter on Neosho Blvd and he will get them to where they are needed most in Joplin.
Pillow cases and bedsheets are needed at the MSSU campus relief site at the Health & Sciences Building.
Crazy Debbie’s Fireworks on N. Main is asking for work gloves, flashlights, Tylenol, ziplock bags, batteries. (Per Angela Ducommun via Helen Hale on FB)
Mystery Church (514 S. Main St.) duct tape, disposable plates, cups, silverware.
First Baptist Neosho (12325 E. Hwy. 86; near 71 South at the Hwy 86 Neosho Exit) is asking for the following items: new underwear and socks for both children and adults, stuffed animals and board games for children, new towels, toiletries, and hygiene items.
People need ways to clean up that do not require water. Think face wipes and baby wipes.
Many people will lose their job because their workplace is destroyed and will be struggling financially. Betsy is taking donations for restaurant, fast food, and grocery store gift cards and will get them to people who she knows will use them prudently. Send these donations to me (P.O. Box 14383, Springfield, MO, 65814) and I will forward them to Betsy. Here are places that still have locations standing:
- Price Cutter
- Food 4 Less
- Taco Bell
- Jimmy John’s
- Olive Garden
- Logan’s Road House
- Bob Evans
- Cracker Barrel
- Steak & Shake
People Betsy know have expressed need for the following items. Take these items to College Heights.
- battery radios for weather warnings while the power if off
- disposable cameras to collect data for insurance
- cordless drills
- gas for generators
- basic furniture
- small fridges
- ice chests filled with Gatorade, water, pop, juice
Finally, listen to these local radio stations to find out on-going specific needs and which shelters have those needs.
- KZRG FM 102.9 or AM 1310 — live stream
- KSYN 92.5 — live stream
- Big Dog 97.9 — live stream
- KIXQ 102.5 — live stream
Want to Help?
If you’re like me, you’re anxious to get your hands dirty helping, but the area is currently closed down because emergency crews are trying to focus on search and rescue efforts. (Here’s the MODOT map of closed roads. Zoom in on Joplin.) The Neosho YMCA needs help sorting and folding clothes, but give Jenny a call there at 417.451.6508 before you go because we don’t want them to get overwhelmed with too many people.
Other places needing help sorting donations are Forrest Park Baptist Church (725 S. Highview Ave. 417.623.4606) and The Bridge (address above). (Per Aaron Decker on FB)
Volunteers needed at College Heights to help get supplies and water downtown.