The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

August 17, 2012

St. Louis Cardinals Foundation gives $200,000 to four charities in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — The charitable foundation of the St. Louis Cardinals is donating $200,000 to four charities in Joplin. The money will go to Children’s Haven, Bright Futures, the Ronald McDonald House of Joplin and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper & Newton Counties.

Cardinals Care made its announcement Friday.

The money came from fans who made donations to the foundation’s Joplin Recovery fund as part of the Teams United for Joplin effort in 2011, following the May 22, 2011, tornado.

Children’s Haven will receive a $70,000 donation.

Bright Futures will get $40,000.

Ronald McDonald House will get $20,000.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jasper & Newton Counties will get the remaining $70,000.

“Isn’t that amazing,” Stephanie Theis, executive director of Children’s Haven, said Friday after learning the news. Children’s Haven provides temporary housing to children of families experiencing a crisis.

“We have more children now than ever before — a 40 percent sustained increase,” Theis said.

Experts have told her that after a major disaster, domestic problems such as divorce, spousal abuse and child abuse rates all rise because of stress, and those problems could stay at elevated levels for up to five years, Theis said.

“Now that we know that, we can prepare for it. That’s what this is all about.”

Children’s Haven, located at Seventh Street and Picher Avenue, is currently adding another house nearby to meet the expanding need.

Don Greenlee, program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said organization officials also were surprised to learn of the donation.

Before the storm, he said, the group was working to find a Big Brother or Big Sister for an average of 12 to 14 children at any given time.

“Since that time we’ve been 20-plus. Right now we’re sitting at 25 to 26.”

He attributes some of that increase to the fact that parents may still be overwhelmed, whether they are moving, rebuilding or otherwise coping with the storm.

“It’s their way of getting another adult involved in their (child’s) life,” Greenlee said of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Of its $70,000, $20,000 will support up to 20 additional children in the program for one year. The remaining $50,000 will be used to help the organization find a permanent home. Its former location at 24th and Range Line Road was destroyed in the tornado. One of the options under consideration is rebuilding at its old location.

“This is going to help us figure out what we are going to do for the long term,” Greenlee added.

“We are inspired by the commitment each of these organizations has made to help the children of Joplin in the wake of last year’s tragedy,” Michael Hall, vice president of community relations and executive director of Cardinals Care said in a statement. “We targeted our donations to help with the critical needs of each organization.”

Team officials will present checks to each agency when the Cardinals visit Joplin on Monday to volunteer at five homes being built by Habitat for Humanity as part of the Governor’s Joplin Challenge.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
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