The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Donate & volunteer

May 27, 2011

DONATE: Donations, large and small, raining down upon Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — It wasn’t clear Wednesday who won the dance contest — the boys or the girls.

Rachel Heil, a second-grade teacher at Bingham Elementary School in Springfield, said that after Disney Radio was called up on a computer, one of her boy students challenged the girls to a dance-off.

“The kids who didn’t want to dance took scores,” Heil said. “Each kid went up one at a time and did their dance. The kids ended up tied, though. They couldn’t decide who was better.”

Wednesday’s dance party was a reward for a successful fundraiser. On Monday, members of the student council challenged their classmates to bring in a dollar or more for Joplin recovery.

On Wednesday, they sent $1,146.54 to Joplin with a convoy of trucks from Ozarks Technical Community College.

Also on the convoy: $31 collected by a little girl and sent in four plastic sandwich bags and a plastic Easter egg, and 800 boxes of Girl Scout cookies . The contents of the convoy were valued at more than $45,000.

$5.8 million grant

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a National Emergency Grant valued at more than $5.8 million to assist with cleanup and recovery throughout the state, primarily Joplin.

The money is being awarded to the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri.

Elsewhere around the state, a Joplin native used social networking to secure $1.1 million for tornado relief.

Brent Beshore, who now lives in Columbia, started a page called Joplin MO Tornado Recovery. The site has almost 169,000 “likes” and has been used as a primary source of information by media outlets, said his mother, Sharon Beshore.

Through Brent Beshore’s venture capital firm AdVentures and a fundraiser for a new business, he was able to secure $1.1 million in donations.

Other contributions

Meanwhile, donations to Joplin disaster relief, already in the millions, continue to pour in to the community.

These are some of the latest:

• Kohl’s Department Stores announced a $150,000 cash donation: $100,000 to the American Red Cross for emergency assistance and relief efforts, and $50,000 for relief efforts in other affected states.

In addition to the financial contribution, Kohl’s is encouraging its employees to volunteer in support of cleanup efforts through its Associates in Action volunteer program.

• Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores will donate $150,000 to local chapters of the United Way to help Joplin and communities throughout Oklahoma recover and rebuild.

Love’s home state of Oklahoma was also recently hit with tornadoes.

The store in Joplin donated batteries and flashlights to St. John’s Regional Medical Center. It also donated water to a community shelter.

Love’s donation will be directed toward two United Way agencies: Heart of Missouri United Way will receive $100,000, and United Way of Central Oklahoma will receive $50,000.

• The BNSF Foundation will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross for ongoing relief efforts in Joplin and Kansas.

BNSF’s contribution is being made through the Greater Ozarks Regional Chapter of the American Red Cross in Springfield.

• ConocoPhillips is giving $500,000 to the American Red Cross. The company also has offered to match donations made by its U.S. employees.

• Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation have donated $50,000 to the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Verizon Wireless also deployed mobile cell towers to the area, provided courtesy phones to emergency workers, and set up a mobile cellphone charging station and Internet access point for all wireless device users.

• Bank of America will donate $200,000 to support those affected by recent tornadoes in Missouri. The commitment includes a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross.

• Food 4 Less will donate $25,000 to disaster relief.

“Food 4 Less has a store in Joplin and we want to participate in the recovery,” John Watson, store supervisor, said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered.”

• Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems, said in a statement that he will donate salon kits and products valued at up to $100,000 to help Joplin salon professionals restart their businesses.

Shami, who got his start in Joplin, said the kits are necessary for any salon professional looking to restart.

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Tornado: Donate & volunteer