A statue of Mary sits in the front yard of a damaged house in Moore, Okla., May 21, the day after a massive tornado devastated the town. (CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters)
A statue of Mary sits in the front yard of a damaged house in Moore, Okla., May 21, the day after a massive tornado devastated the town. (CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters)

OKLAHOMA CITY (CNS) — The Knights of Columbus, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City are among the charitable agencies collecting donations and providing emergency services to help victims of a string of tornadoes that buffeted areas of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City May 19-20.

Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb, bore the brunt of the EF5 tornado that hit mid-afternoon May 20, killing 24. News reports also said that more than 200 people were injured.

The Knights of Columbus Oklahoma State Council has begun organizing relief efforts in and around Moore to assist those displaced or otherwise negatively impacted by the storm. In addition, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council sent an initial donation of $10,000 in support of the Oklahoma Knights’ response.

Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. is accepting online donations to assist relief and recovery at www.kofc.org/relief. Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City is currently accepting donations at the following link: https://ccokc.ejoinme.org/?tabid=406485. The website of Catholic Charities USA — www.catholiccharitiesusa.org — has a tab labeled, “Give Help and Hope to Tornado Victims.

“As this heartbreaking situation continues to develop, Catholic Charities USA is monitoring the situation on the ground and is standing ready to help emergency personnel in disaster response and recovery — assisting families and individuals with shelter, food, and other immediate and long-term needs,” the agency said in a statement.

Administrator Craig Fugate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, was in Oklahoma to ensure “to ensure all federal resources are supporting our state, local, and tribal partners” in the aftermath of the storm, the agency said in a press release. FEMA also had other personnel “on the ground” to help storm victims.

Among other federal agencies helping the local community in the recovery ahead was Agriculture Department, which has programs that provide assistance to landowners, farmers, ranchers and producers during disasters; the Department of Health and Human Services, which deployed three disaster medical assistance teams; and the Corporation for National and Community Service, which sent 55 AmeriCorps members to help with recovery. Another 40 AmeriCorps members are serving with FEMA Corps.

The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other members of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster also were providing assistance to disaster survivors.

Catholic News Service, serving since 1920 as a news agency specializing in reporting religion, is the primary source of national and world news that appears in the U.S. Catholic press. It is also a leading source of news for Catholic print and broadcast media throughout the world.

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