Locals chip in to aid in Okla. tornado relief

May 22, 2013 • Local News

After the devastating tornado in Oklahoma, many locals chipped in Wednesday to pull together water, food, clothes and other essentials to help out the thousands who lost everything.

“It crossed my mind: I’m self-employed, and I want to go help, and I’m the boss so I can do what I want,” said ViSalus promoter Jesse McDaniel. In helping a team from their own company as well as all the other residents of Moore, Okla., McDaniel along with his brother Matthew McDaniel and friends Justin Hatley, Sheila Greeson, Buster [auth] Stites and Stites’ son Chris Stites all decided to travel to Oklahoma and set up a “mobile command center” to pass out food and supplies. Being able to provide a month’s supply of food from just one 28-ounce bag of protein shake mix, ViSalus has already distributed 30,000 meals.

But since they were going to Oklahoma, McDaniel thought they might as well gather supplies from donators and take everything they could with them. After a Facebook message went out, individuals and organizations from Artesia, Carlsbad and Roswell pulled together approximately $5,000 worth of supplies in just 24 hours.

The message was “We need whatever you have,” and soon there were piles of boxes containing everything from food, water and clothes to diapers and blankets. A Family Dollar in Artesia “stripped the shelves” and sent over various items, said volunteer Michella Parriera. West Main Baptist Church also donated a huge amount of supplies.

A long list of names and companies was quickly jotted down as more and more people showed up with things Oklahoma would need as well as things that would simply make life a little easier to endure, like toys for the kids.

They are down to the most basic needs, Parriera said.

“The people giving are the ones who have nothing,” she said. “They are literally digging through their own houses for things to donate.”

Although originally organized by a few, McDaniel said it was the effort of many to gather the supplies and turn their trip to Oklahoma into full-blown relief assistance.

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