We usually reserve this space for a volunteer opportunity in the East Valley. But sometimes, there are people and places beyond metropolitan Phoenix that could use our help too.
The EF5 tornado - the most deadly U.S. twister in more than 60 years - that ripped apart Joplin, Mo., last Sunday left 132 people dead and 156 missing (as of Friday afternoon), and wiped out entire neighborhoods. The National Weather Service received reports of damage to 75 percent of Joplin, while Red Cross officials estimate that 25 percent of the city was destroyed. Exhausted residents are combing through rubble and ruin in hopes of finding any bits and pieces of their lives that might have survived.
According to the Take Part website, there are a number of ways that you can help the people of Joplin recover from this tragedy:
• Donate to the American Red Cross by going to https://american.redcross.org. A special fund for Missouri Tornado and Flood Relief has been established there. You can also text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
• Donate to the Missouri Interfaith Disaster Response Organization, which is helping devastated communities with long-term recovery plans. Visit http://www.umocm.com.
• Put together a hygiene kit for Heart to Heart International to give to someone in need. Information on how to do that is available at http://www.hearttoheart.org.
• "Like" the Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery Facebook page, where you can leave messages for victims. The page updates regularly to let you know other ways you can help.
Even just a simple note of hope can help a community that has lost so much.
• A Helping Hand is our weekly spotlight on a volunteer opportunity in the East Valley. Find other ways to help at www.volunteermatch.org.