Red Cross Launches Relief Efforts for Oklahoma Tornado

Responses Ongoing in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama

From the plains of the Midwest to the deep south, the American Red Cross is providing a safe place to stay and relief supplies for thousands of people displaced by tornadoes and floods. Even as relief operations continue full force in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, the Red Cross has opened shelters in Oklahoma after last night’s tornadoes.  

Barbara Behling, looking at the damage and personal belongings left on the curb in Memphis

“These storms have left thousands across the country without homes, without any belongings,” said Barbara Behling, Regional Community Development Office. “It is important that everyone remember those whose lives have been impacted by these disasters as I have seen first hand from my deployment to Nashville and Memphis this past week.”

Multiple tornadoes in Oklahoma destroyed homes and businesses, left thousands without power, and forced road closures due to overturned vehicles and structure damage.  Red Cross workers are providing a safe place to stay, food to eat, toiletries and clean-up items.

On this rainy morning, American Red Cross volunteers Hope Koestner, LPN and Joe Ulrich are delivering medical assistance and mental health services to residents of Nashville. As they walk through this particular neighborhood which was damaged extensively by flood waters, they realize quickly that they need a translator as few residents speak English. Luckily, one of the first doors they knock on is the home of Nancy and Ernesto Gomez and their ten year old son Daniel. Daniel is bi-lingual and is able to help his family by translating their needs. Nancy then offers to have Daniel go around the neighborhood with Hope and Joe as they assist others.

Meanwhile, people down south are still tossing furniture and appliances into the street, ripping up flooring and tearing out walls as they work on their homes after last week’s flooding and tornadoes.  Red Cross teams from 37 different states have shelters open, are providing meals, and distributing various clean-up items and basic necessities such as toiletries. 

Local Volunteer from Green Bay, Hope Koestner, LPN, left on Saturday to assist the people of Nashville and will be gone up to three weeks.

If someone would like to help, there are three ways that people can make a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: Visit to donate online, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

Help people affected by disasters like the recent floods and tornadoes by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for disasters and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters. Call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting