AARP Oklahoma today announced its seventh grant to help Oklahoma tornado victims – an $80,000 donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to provide long-term support to those impacted.
The announcement was made at the Regional Food Bank’s Disaster Relief Distribution Center in Moore. To date, more than 7,100 food distributions have been made at the site and more than 3,600 households have been served.
“AARP is committed to helping those in need,” said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “We have worked closely with the Regional Food Bank on our Drive to End Hunger initiative and have seen firsthand the positive way it helps Oklahomans in need. The Regional Food Bank’s initial response to these devastating tornadoes, as well as its commitment to long-term recovery, will help thousands of Oklahomans. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those affected by these storms.”
Regional Food Bank Executive Director Rodney Bivens said the Regional Food Bank is providing food, household products and disaster relief supplies to individuals impacted by the tornadoes in Moore, Shawnee, Carney, El Reno and Little Axe. The Regional Food Bank served 45 disaster-relief agencies throughout the five counties impacted by the storms, provided more than 1.3 million meals to tornado victims and distributed more than 1.6 million pounds of food and supplies.
“It’s difficult to describe the devastation so many Oklahomans experienced as a result of the violent tornadoes and subsequent flooding this spring,” he said. “We are humbled by this donation from AARP and its members nationwide. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank AARP for its continued support.”
Within hours of the May storms, AARP Foundation established an Oklahoma relief fund to support victims. AARP and AARP Foundation matched dollar-for-dollar contributions up to $300,000 resulting in a total of $674,000 raised from more than 6,000 people, Voskuhl said. All organizations receiving grants have signed a letter of agreement and submitted a plan detailing how they will use funding to help storm victims. In addition, grantees have committed that 100 percent of funds will be used for direct assistance in Oklahoma and no portion will be used for administrative costs. Each organization will send a final report to AARP detailing the full expenditure of its grant money.
AARP previously announced grants to: the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; Legal Aid Service of Oklahoma; the Oklahoma City Community Foundation; United Way of Pottawatomie County; Rebuilding Together OKC and the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
The association continues to participate in long-term recovery committee meetings in Pottawatomie and Oklahoma/Cleveland counties and will announce additional local grants to help tornado victims over the next several weeks.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and AARP announced an agreement that will expand outreach around emergency preparedness for millions of older Americans. FEMA and AARP will work together to provide resources and services for older Americans with respect to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery operations in the event of natural, man-made or technological disasters.
This agreement strengthens the shared responsibility approach to emergency management and will improve access to information to help individuals, families and communities stay safe before, during and after an emergency or disaster. This is an opportunity for FEMA and AARP to collaborate on emergency preparedness communications including social media outreach, training and exercise and evaluation opportunities that will raise awareness and help individuals to take the necessary steps to be prepared for emergencies, Voskuhl said.