By Ashley Conroy - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Since Saturday's deadly tornado, disaster relief and recovery efforts have been in full operational mode.
The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have been on the front lines of disaster stricken areas helping people along the way.
The Red Cross has a command post set up in Yazoo City, but they also have an entire coordinating team in Jackson collecting data from the field and collecting donations.
"The fastest way to respond to the immediate needs of people is to have cash, money that we can immediately turn into whatever is needed at the moment," said Disaster Fundraising Officer of the American Red Cross, Larry Bartrem.
The Red Cross only accepts monetary donations from people, but they coordinate with other organizations if they can't meet the needs of disaster victims.
"If we can't meet the need then we hope to have partners so we can refer people to other places. So 'we can't help you,' but these folks can."
The Salvation Army on the other hand accepts anything from clothes, non-perishable foods, to furniture and monetary donations.
Jackson Salvation Army Spokesperson, Mark Jones says they started partnering with an online bidder, "Buy from a Christian.com" and created what they call a 'virtual garage sale' that is also helping with disaster relief efforts.
"And then you take a photo and upload a photo of what you are selling. And then 100 percent of the sale price of when it sales will go to the Salvation Army to support tornado relief."
Jones says they will literally accept almost anything for purchase to help victims.
"You can put clothes, DVD's, books, furniture, gift cards, automobiles, if you have it, and you want to sell it, then this is a great creative way to get involved in disaster relief.
Starting next week the Red Cross and the Salvation says they are undergoing a more detailed "needs assessment" to determine how to help each individual family.
"And in this case we're doing what's called client assistance we'll give them a card that's loaded with some funds that's like a bank card that they'll be able to use for expenses," Bartrem said.
"You can receive case management, a case manager will sit down discuss your case discuss your needs and evaluate what you're needs are," Jones said.
On Thursday, Governor Haley Barbour created the Mississippi Disaster Recovery Fun, Inc designed to help those affected in the wake of the April 24th tornado.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has partnered up with the Mississippi Disaster Recovery Fund, and the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service to get as much immediate assistance out to people as possible.
"Which means that the state and local governments didn't have to stop in and do things like providing food and water and shelter and that sort of thing," said MEMA Director, Mike Womack.
If someone wishes to donate to the American Red Cross online (www.mississippi-redcross.org), Bartrem recommends to click on the link that says tornado recovery. Or he says people can call 1(800) RED-CROSS and request to donate to the tornado recovery effort.
The Salvation Army also says people can donate online (www.salvationarmyusa.org), call 1(800) SAL-ARMY, or stop by any locations to drop off goods.