Update on the Joplin Tornado Recovery efforts…
First, I want to apologize for not keeping you more updated than I have, it’s been a little busy around here. We’re actually holding up pretty well and I can make some reports of what your Valley is accomplishing. We started out on our first day delivering about 300-400 meals. This number has grown daily through Memorial Day. The previous two to three days before Memorial Day we delivered approximately 2,000 meals each day. On Memorial Day we delivered about 2,500 meals. Tuesday, we were more cautious and decided to base our meal count on how much we could get delivered for breakfast. It seemed that some delivery teams were having more difficulty finding hungry people. Total count for Tuesday was nearly 1,000 meals. I understand from our Brothers in law enforcement that many of the food providers have closed up their shop and left town. This first phase has more to do with salvaging anything left from peoples’ homes and most folks are pretty much done gathering their belongings. We believe the tornado recovery is moving into a new phase and clean-up will become much more important, especially on the weekends. We’ll close food preparation today through Friday, re-open for the weekend, and see if there is a need. In the meantime, if you’d like to assist in clean up efforts, please check the website www.rebuildjoplin.org to register your Team with the City or call 211 to register with the United Way .
Our Brethren in the path of this violent storm has become our next concern and toward that end, we are trying to match addresses with a map of the damage path. We are beginning the task of contacting these Brethren and assessing what help they may need. We plan on sending teams into the field to try contacting them tomorrow. We have determined that there are at least 40-50 Scottish Rite Brethren in the damage area. I’ve also asked the Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star of Missouri to help us find any Ladies that have been affected. Please contact us if you have a need due to tornado damage.
The City has begun major debris removal today. Our tent with household supplies will remain open, but we plan to begin taking our supplies to places where it may be needed. We’re not getting enough traffic here to justify keeping a tent erected. We will also be using our Finance Committee to begin forming ways we can use the cash donations we have been receiving to help the community, especially our Brothers who have lost everything.
I wish I could put into words the devastation I have seen after the tornado passed through our city. And I wish I could put into words the gratitude we have seen from just a simple hot meal delivered into the affected areas. Finally, I wish I could express our gratitude to the many Brothers all across our country that have come to our aid. Their help, brotherly love, and prayers have been and continue to sustain us through this hardship, and I can’t thank them enough.
As of this time, and although I can’t speak definitively on the need, we’re going to be ok. If you have items to donate, please hold onto them as our tent is full. We may need them a little bit further down the road. And I would ask you all to be patient with us as we figure out how to proceed. After all, this is the first time many of us have faced this kind of disaster. The recovery process will be a long one, I am sure. But I am also sure that we will continue to be able to count on our Brothers for their continued prayers. Thank you all for your support and may God continue to bless our Fraternity!
Richard A. Lowrey, 33°
Valley of Joplin
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