Front: AARP Associate State Director Mashell Sourjohn; State Senator Rob Standridge; Aging Services Board Members Gala Hicks & Ann Summers; Aging Services Executive Director Kathleen Wilson; AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl; AARP Moore Chapter President Tommy Throckmorton; State Rep. Mark McBride. Back: Moore Emergency Management Director  Gayland Kitch; Moore City Manager Steve Eddy; Aging Services Board Members Sam Kerr & Donna Hoffman

Front: AARP Associate State Director Mashell Sourjohn; State Senator Rob Standridge; Aging Services Board Members Gala Hicks & Ann Summers; Aging Services Executive Director Kathleen Wilson; AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl; AARP Moore Chapter President Tommy Throckmorton; State Rep. Mark McBride. Back: Moore Emergency Management Director Gayland Kitch; Moore City Manager Steve Eddy; Aging Services Board Members Sam Kerr & Donna Hoffman

In an effort to help older residents recover from the devastating Moore tornado, AARP Oklahoma has donated $20,000 to Aging Services, Inc. to  address unmet needs.

This is the eighth of 11 grants totaling $674,000 AARP is making to help those impacted by tornadoes in communities across Oklahoma.

“AARP is committed to the long-term needs of those affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma,” said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “We know that victims, including many older Oklahomans, are struggling to recover. AARP and AARP Foundation is pleased to make this donation to Aging Services, Inc. to help people rebuild their lives. We continue to keep all the tornado victims in our thoughts and prayers.”

Kathleen Wilson, Executive Director of Aging Services, Inc., says the organization is working with the Eastern Cleveland County Long-Term Recovery Committee and the Unmet Needs Subcommittee to identify older tornado victims affected by the storms. To date, more than 50 senior adults have been identified with unmet needs.

“With the funding we’re receiving from AARP we are going to be able to help many older Oklahomans meet needs that are not being covered by other agencies,” she said. “We are grateful to AARP for their continued concern for older Oklahomans because we believe as we get further and further involved we are going to come across all sorts of needs that haven’t been met.”

Among unmet needs are helping older homeowners who may not have insurance and who need help securing their homes and bringing the home back to a condition that is livable, Wilson said.

Earlier, AARP announced a grant to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma  that will, among other things, help continue to supply food and disaster assistance at the Regional Food Bank’s Disaster Relief Distribution Center in Moore. To date the center has made more than 7,100 food distributions and served more than 3,600 households.

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 has distributed more than 1.6 million pounds of food and supplies.

Other AARP grants, many of which will benefit Cleveland County victims, have been made to: the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; Rebuilding Together OKC; United Way of Pottawatomie County; the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference and Legal Aid Service of Oklahoma. The remaining grants will be announced in the coming weeks.

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% 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.

Voskuhl also noted that AARP will continue to participate in long-term recovery committees in Pottawatomie and Oklahoma/Cleveland counties.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and AARP announced an agreement last week 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.

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