The day after a devastating tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, destroying a quarter of the city and resulting in 123 deaths, the Joplin Public Library was open for business.
Located about 12 blocks north of the six-mile-long path the F4 tornado cut through the town Sunday night, the Public Library has become a place of stability for a community in upheaval.
Library Director Jacque Gage reports that as citizens have begun to regroup and restart their lives, they’ve been using the Library’s computers, solid Internet connection, and charging stations. “We’re near police, fire, and the main grid,” Gage tells us. “Our fiber network hasn’t gone down once.”
Though the Library was undamaged, eight staff members completely lost their homes in the storm, and two others’ homes received significant damage. Two employees suffered injuries, including a broken arm.
“Five of the eight who lost their homes are only employed part-time, including a single mom (with a now-broken arm and no medical insurance),” Gage said in an e-mail sent earlier today to Missouri library directors.
If you wish to make a financial contribution to the Joplin Public Library, mail it to the Joplin Library Foundation at 300 South Main St., Joplin, MO 64801-2384. Make checks payable to: "Joplin Publib Staff Relief Fund." Like the Joplin Library’s Facebook page for updates.
Here’s a list of other ways you can help the victims of the Joplin tornado:
- Text the word “JOPLIN” to 80888 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts.
- Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross’ efforts. Visit the Red Cross’ disaster news room to find out the latest on relief response, including information about what supplies are needed most.
- The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City is asking area residents to donate blood. Go to savealifenow.org or call 1-888-647-4040 to find a blood bank or mobile blood drive.
- Heart to Heart International is seeking medical volunteers to assist with medical aid and asking the general public to make financial donations or pack care kits. Call 913-764-5200
- SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza is collecting money at its four locations through Friday.
- The City of Joplin is seeking volunteers.
- Donate through the Convoy of Hope website or text “Convoy” to 50555 to give $10.
- And here are even more ways you can help.