Wichita Falls Chapter of the American Red Cross Helps Tornado Victims of Joplin

The American Red Cross chapter here in Wichita Falls has over one hundred volunteers ready and willing to be sent out to the disaster site in Joplin.

Right now shelters in Joplin are being run by the Springfield, Missouri region of the Red Cross, but those volunteers will soon need replacements.  When that happens, the Red Cross here in Wichita Falls is ready to take their place.

With only four people on staff and over one hundred active volunteers, the American Red Cross chapter in Wichita Falls has been keeping busy since the city of Joplin was leveled by a deadly E. F. 4 tornado.

Volunteers put their names into an availability bank and wait for a call. Once called upon the volunteers are sent out on duty for a three week period.   Doing all they can to help, staff says the best way for Texomans to join in and help is by donations, and pump money back into the affected cities' economy.

The Red Cross says the problem with donating clothing or food items is getting the supplies to the affected region.  They say boxing everything then having to ship it is very expensive.  Staff members also advise local residents to prepare themselves in the case of a disaster striking Wichita Falls.

Katrina Farmer, Executive Director of the North Central Texas Chapter says the most important rule is, "have a plan, have a sort of communication plan.  Here in Wichita Falls have a plan on both sides of town.  Say you're at work and you go home and your house is gone, where are you going to go.  You can say, we're going to the Walmart on Lawrence Road and there we are going to post that we are ok."

Katrina Farmer told Newschannel 6 today that the past few days have been very stressful for her personally.  Her hometown is Joplin and all her family currently lives there, including her three children.  Katrina says fortunately no one was hurt, but she says this is a wake up call to always be prepared.

Newschannel 6 has made it easy for you to donate.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross and help the tornado victims of Joplin, Mo. Click here

Also, earlier this month we took an in depth look at how to prepare your family for a disaster. We have some great information for you.

click here to watch Skywarn 6 Meteorologist Ben Walnick's story on how to prepare yourself for a disaster.

Natalie Garcia, Newschannel 6