Southeast Michigan is gearing up to help with tornado relief in Joplin, Missouri by collecting supplies at several locations and sending a convoy of trucks on June 16.
An EF-5-rated tornado touched down in Joplin on May 22 destroying hundreds of homes and facilities in its path. At least 142 people died in the disaster and more than 900 were injured.
Judge Jodi Debbrecht of Waterford's 51 District Court, Program Coordinator Bob Donohue and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson are spearheading the regional effort to help Joplin. Debbrecht, a Missouri native, said the convoy will leave southeast Michigan June 16 with plans to deliver the next day. The drive is about 13.5 hours, Debbrecht said.
In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Debbrecht said the tornado hits close to her heart because she still has friends and family members in Missouri.
"It's like a bomb went off in this community," Debbrecht said."These people are devastated. The horror, ladies and gentlemen, is really beginning now."
Communities in the Main Street Oakland County Program will have drop off locations for supplies. They are collecting portable generators, heavy duty extension chords, construction lighting, electric fans (all sizes), wheelbarrows, garden rakes and shovels, new or used power gloves and eye safety goggles, construction safety hard hats, contractor grade garbage bags, plastic storage containers, tarps and bungee cords, ropes (all sizes), pet food and children's books. The list of items came from the Joplin's mayor Mike Woolston.
Drop-off sites in the county:
- Farmington Public Services, 33720 Nine Mile Road
- in Ferndale, 181 W. Marshall
- Franklin Village Hall, 32325 Franklin Road
- Highland Fire Station No. 1, 250 W. Livingston Road
- Holly DPW, 201 Elm Street
- Lake Orion DDA, 51 N. Broadway
- Ortonville DPW, 159 Cedar
- Oxford DDA, 22 W. Burdick
- Rochester DPW, 1141 N. Wilcox
- Walled Lake DPW, 718 N. Pontiac Trail
- Oakland County Government, 1 Public Works Drive, Bldg. 95 West, Waterford
Oakland County officials say they are only sending supplies and area residents should avoid traveling to the disaster scene until the city asks for volunteers.
"Among the worst things that can happen are people just showing up to help," said William Mullan, a spokesman for L. Brooks Patterson.
Monetary donations can be made to the relief fund 'Jodi Helps Joplin' at Oakland County Credit Union, 1375 N. Oakland, Waterford, MI 48327. Donations are not tax deductible.