10 June 2011
On May 22nd, Joplin MO was hit by a devastating tornado. According to cbsnews.com, it was the "deadliest single U.S. twister in more than six decades."
That night, my sister Laura called me from the Joplin Walmart with a shaky voice. The roof had just been torn off while she and her family looked up into the eye of the F5 tornado that roared above them like a horrific monster. She didn't know yet if she still had a house, or if all of her loved ones were alive.
Since the tornado, Laura and her partner Toby have been working tirelessly to help their friends and their devastated city. The high school my niece was going to start at in the fall is flattened. Their grandparents' house is gone. Everyone in the city knows someone who is either homeless or dead. I'm floored at the destruction. Watching this video, I feel so incredibly grateful that my family is safe.
Laura had saved up a few thousand bucks to come out to Oregon/Idaho for a family reunion this summer. We were all (and I mean ALL - aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers-in-law, and my dear mom) looking so forward to seeing her and her girls, and meeting Toby. Most of us haven't seen her since at least 2005, and for a lot of the family it has been longer.
Laura's car was destroyed in the tornado. She'll receive an insurance check probably, at some point, but it won't help her get here next month. She had to use some of her savings to buy herself a new (to her) car which still needs a little bit of work before it can go on a long journey. Toby has been spending his days helping people who have lost their homes - doing handyman work (for free), transporting and storing things, trying to help people find things they need. As it looks now, they aren't going to be able to re-save enough money to replace what they have lost through this tornado. Without help, they won't be able to come out. According to Laura's calculations, they need about $1000 more to be able to get here (and back).
So here's the dealio. I want to help them out! I know so many generous souls, and there are so many people who love Laura that I know would be willing to help. Here's a list of what they will need in order to get here:
~ gas cards
~ restaurant gift cards
~ motel vouchers? They'll need a stop each way.
Any ideas, leads, or straight-up donations would be much appreciated!!
I love you Laura, and I can't wait to see you.