USA (MNN/EFCA) — Oklahoma is still picking up the pieces following a series of tornadoes that made global headlines.
The time will come when volunteer teams from around the country represent welcome help for Oklahoma tornado victims. After all, the saying "more hands make light work" is true.
Just not yet.
Right now, the biggest needs are funding and prayer, according to the Evangelical Free Church Mission, or EFCA.
“There are plenty of local people responding at this point,” says EFCA ReachGlobal Crisis Response director Mark Lewis.
What’s needed immediately is money to help that local relief effort–in particular, for transitional shelter for those who lost homes. You can make an online donation by clicking here. That site also has an e-mail link for questions about eventual volunteering.
Between May 19 and May 31, nearly 50 people lost their lives in Oklahoma's severe tornado outbreak. Many victims were children; 17 kids under the age of 10 were killed by the twisters.
While three separate tornados were responsible for claiming lives, the deadliest were EF5 (Enhanced Fujita Scale) tornadoes taking place on May 20 and May 31.
The May 20 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, killed 24 people, including nine children. The twister stayed on the ground for a whopping 40 minutes and left behind a mile-wide path of destruction stretching 20 miles long.
On May 31, the widest tornado ever recorded in the United States touched down near El Reno. Spanning 2.6 miles, this twister claimed 21 lives.
Some of the biggest challenges face those left behind. Early damage estimates from the Oklahoma Insurance Department suggest repairs could top $2 billion.
According to Lewis, you can help the most through a combination of prayer and financial support.
The Gathering, an EFCA church in Oklahoma City, has a significant ministry to the deaf,and is helping several families in the deaf community that lost their homes in Moore. ReachGlobal is also making connections in Shawnee, the town struck by a deadly tornado on May 19.
“We are coming alongside a Baptist church out in the country that is helping with tree clearing/cleanup and relief supplies distribution, while contemplating their role in long-term recovery,” Lewis says.
Click here to come alongside ReachGlobal and help tornado survivors. Pray that families will find hope in Jesus Christ.