Help 4 Oklahoma

Forgotten Harvest prepares for delivery

By Tony Statz - Producer

Metro-Detroiters have opened their hearts, their wallets, and their pantries to help tornado survivors in Oklahoma.

Forgotten Harvest has lead the campaign to gather much-needed supplies and cash donations. The latest estimates show just how generous Metro-Detroiters have been. The organization says its gathered about $800,000 worth of goods and $100,000 in cash donations.

Checking, Packing, Delivering

Now that you've done your part, dedicated volunteers are busy sorting those supplies, checking expiration dates, and looking for damaged goods.

"Cause we don't want to give anybody anything in Oklahoma that they can't use," Russ Russell, Chief Development Officer at Forgotten Harvest.

The volunteers at Forgotten Harvest come from all walks of life. When Ruth to the Rescue stopped by, volunteers from the General Motors Foundation were on duty looking through all the supplies that had been dropped off at Art Van stores throughout the area. Forgotten Harvest uses 120 volunteers a day to staff is regular help for the hungry in Metro-Detroit, and more volunteers were called in support the Help 4 Oklahoma campaign.

One volunteer told Local 4's Ruth Spencer she was touched by the stories coming out of Oklahoma. "We've had tornadoes here in Michigan, but nothing like what they had in Oklahoma," said Barb Burke, a volunteer from the General Motors Foundation.

The volunteers were also saddened to see the state of Oklahoma was struck by more tornadoes on Friday, May 31st.

"Just the fact that they came through on a highway during rush hour. That could be any of us, that really made us want to come and help out." said Burke.

Once all the checking, sorting, and inventory is done, a convoy of 13 tractor-trailers and other vehicles will be heading to Oklahoma on June 5th. A donated Chevrolet truck will lead the caravan as it heads to the disaster area. Your donations will have a lasting impact.

"This disaster cleanup is going to take months. And, so these items are now going to be in a huge warehouse where people will actually come and shop for the things they need," said Russ Russell, Chief Development Officer at Forgotten Harvest.

You Can Still Help!!

Russell says you can also still help in the coming months. Although the campaign to gather supplies has ended, you can make cash donations to tornado survivors whenever you like, and that money will be earmarked for Oklahoma.

You can also support Forgotten Harvest by volunteering to work in the warehouse. While sorting the donations for Oklahoma is a major job, volunteers sort donations for local Metro-Detroiters year round. All types of businesses, churches, schools, and other groups are already helping out. If you belong to a group, ask your friends if they might want to do some volunteer work.

"Everybody feels that when you come to Forgotten Harvest, it's very heartwarming, and you feel like you did something good for the community," said Barb Burke, a volunteer from the General Motors Foundation.

To learn more about making a donation or becoming a volunteer follow this link.

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