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Fund to help twister victims
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If you want to help
Donors to the United Way Tornado Relief Fund can designate their gift to assist in either Reading, or Joplin, Mo. Donors should make checks payable to United Way Tornado Relief, and mail to United Way of the Plains, 245 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202. They can note on their checks which community they want it to go to.
Those interested in volunteering are urged to call 211, a UW-funded service, to get the latest information on if and where help is needed.
For more information, contact the United Way of Central Kansas, 620-792-2403.
In addition, The First Assembly of God Church in Great Bend is collecting items for the victims of the Joplin tornado. Working through an affiliated church in Galena (which is serving as a relief shelter and aid distribution center), the local church is collecting household basics, toiletries, socks and underwear of all sizes, nonperishable food items, blankets, discount store gift cards, and work gloves.
Donations can be dropped off at the church, 601 South Patton Rd., during the days this week and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. On Saturday, donors are asked to use the south door. For more information, call the church at 620-792-5211.

Wichita-based United Way of the Plains is coordinating with United Way of Central Kansas to assist the tornado-ravaged communities of Reading and Joplin, Mo., said Julie Bugner Smith, UWCK executive director.
According to Smith, the Wichita United Way has established a tornado relief fund for the long-term recovery efforts in the towns hit by twisters over the weekend. The United Way Tornado Relief Fund will serve as a central collection point for anyone wishing to make a monetary contribution to help the victims.
“We are kind of all banding together,” Smith said from her office in Great Bend. “Our United Ways have been doing a good job of uniting.”
Smith said disasters such as these require the services of many organizations, especially for on-going assistance in the future. “This United Way fund will provide a vehicle for that help.”
Already, the Red Cross and Salvation Army are working in the communities. Both organizations receive UW funding.
“These groups do a good job of dealing with the immediate needs,” said Pat Hanrahan, president of the United Way of the Plains. “The United Way fund is to provide longer-term assistance.”
The fund will be open for the next several weeks as the needs of those affected by the tornado become known. Assistance will be given out on a case-by-case basis.
“There is no over-head fee,” Hanrahan said. The fund will be administered by United Way of the Plains and 100 percent will go to disaster recovery.
The idea for the fund has proven successful following other disasters, most recently after the tornado that leveled most of Greensburg.
Since the Wichita office is larger and has more resources, Smith said it was decided to use it as the hub of this effort.
There are a number of connections with the UWs in the communities. The Joplin United Way is linked with the one in Pittsburg and the one in Reading has ties to the UW in Emporia.
“Together we have a lot of power to help each other,” Smith said.
For more information, contact  Smith at United Way of Central Kansas, 620-792-2403.