Help for tornado victims

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:39 PM

International Aid CEO Brian Anderson said he's confident area residents will rise to the request and donate personal items for the families that endured the violent storm.

“We've helped out a couple of years ago down in Alabama when the tornadoes ran through, and last year in Indiana,” he said. “We have a long history of wanting to help out when things happen here at home, and things down in Oklahoma are no different.”

Priority items needed for the relief effort include soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, diapers, hand sanitizer, wash cloths, hand towels, wet wipes, disposable razors and similar items. All items must be new.

Money is also welcome.

“One of the most effective ways to help is through cash donations,” Anderson said. “That gives us the greatest flexibility to help out. However people choose to respond, we'll maximize those gifts and do the best we can with them.”

The Christian relief organization has already contributed $84 million of assistance to 79 countries in the past 10 months, according to Anderson. In 2012, International Aid hit a record in generosity, shipping $160 million worth of relief items.

“We're very grateful for the people here in West Michigan who are always very giving and who do step up in these situations," Anderson said.

Donations may be dropped off at the International Aid warehouse between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make a monetary donation, visit internationalaid.org and click on the “donate now” icon.

Anderson is also asking area residents to keep the people of Oklahoma in their prayers.

“We have been blessed in so many ways, both personally and as an organization, that it's in times like this that we are able to bless others,” he said.

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