Oklahoma Habitat affiliates organizing weekend volunteer projects
By Bill Sanders
An entire row of houses along one side of a street in Moore, Okla., was wiped out by the May 20 tornado. Photo by Giovanni Taylor-Peace/Habitat for Humanity International
(May 23, 2013) — About 50 volunteers and staff members from Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity are headed to Shawnee, Oklahoma, Saturday, May 25, to assist in cleanup and repairs to homes damaged in the May 19 tornado.
Because of the magnitude of the tornado in nearby Moore a day later, victims in places such as Shawnee and Bethel Acres have not gotten the press or attention they need, said Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity executive director Ann Felton.
“We have so many people who want to be helping in some way, whether it be in Moore or in Shawnee or Bethel,” Felton said. “I know the people in Shawnee want our help, so that’s where we’re headed first.
“The damage there is devastating, horrible. It’s not all in one area, but spread out. There’s a trailer park destroyed and some modular homes blown away. They’re going to need a lot of help going forward.”
Two people were killed in Shawnee’s storms.
Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity has plans to help with cleanup Saturday in east Norman, Oklahoma, where most of the damage was caused by downed trees and power outages. The affiliate also has a box truck of donated supplies headed to Bethel Acres.
“Our phones have rung off the hook from people wanting to help,” said Linda Banta, interim executive director of the Cleveland County affiliate. “And now that we can direct people to a place to help, they will turn out in big numbers. And these places are thrilled to have us come.”
The two affiliates might partner in the cleanup and rebuilding phase. The logistics of such an arrangement are still in the works.