As we all know, a little over a week ago, a monstrous EF5 tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma, shredding homes, destroying schools and claiming 24 lives, 10 of which were children. In the days since, President Obama has visited the area, the community has vowed to rebuild, and the entire country has come together to support the victims, including RYOT partners Direct Relief International, Architecture for Humanity and The Vanity Project.
Those who survived this disaster are now faced with the daunting task of rebuilding their homes, their community and their lives. That’s why — in the immediate aftermath of the twister — RYOT established the Oklahoma Tornado Victims Fund. At the time of this writing, we have received hundreds of donations from readers just like you, and we have raised more than $30,000, including a $10,000 matching contribution from our good friends Incubus, and their organization, The Make Yourself Foundation.
And today, we’re proud to report that $5,000 of the money you donated is already in the hands of tornado victims. With the help of Operation Blessing, RYOT purchased 50 $100 Home Depot gift cards (distributed during Memorial Day weekend) to help the folks in Moore, Oklahoma, buy essential items like shovels and masks so they could begin digging through the rubble of their homes — the first step toward rebuilding.
The very first gift card (and the first distribution of RYOT’s fund) was given to Steve Crawford, a retired U.S. Air Force Disabled Combat Veteran. As you can see in the above video, he was moved and inspired by your gift — that’s right, YOUR gift; remember, this is YOUR money going DIRECTLY to those who need it most. Just as we promised, every cent of that $5,000 was spent on the gift cards, just as every remaining cent of the fund will go directly to the community.
The entire RYOT team wants to thank you — our readers and supporters — for your amazing gifts, and for helping these families at a time when they could really use some love. Operation Blessing has given us unbelievable feedback, reporting that all the families receiving gift cards have been overwhelmed by your support.
We started RYOT to bring you the news while at the same time empowering you to do something about all the tragic (and sometimes not so tragic) things you read. So from the bottom of our still-heavy hearts, thank you so much for believing our mission and Becoming the News!
We look forward to working with the community to distribute the rest of your donations (and any more that might come in) where they are needed the most, and where they will make the biggest impact.
RYOT NOTE: RYOT readers rock! Hopefully, this video gave you an idea of how important your donations are, and the type of impact they’re already making. If you feel inspired, please consider donating (or even donating again) and spreading the word about the Oklahoma Tornado Victims Fund. Just click on the gray box alongside this story to get started!