San Antonio donors, agencies assisting Oklahoma tornado victims

Locals collect supplies, cash to help

Author: Katrina Webber, Reporter, kwebber@ksat.com
Published On: May 21 2013 12:56:50 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

San Antonio donors and charitable agencies are doing their part to assist the people who were devastated by the tornado that hit suburban Oklahoma City Monday afternoon.

They’re donating everything from clothing to cash to help fill the needs of the victims.

Patrons who went to hear live music at Northeast side bar, Zombies, Monday night brought along items like bottled water, diapers, baby food and clothing.

The drive was so successful, in fact, that they extended it for a few hours Tuesday morning.

"I don't know anyone in Oklahoma. But I do have my neighbor who's a first responder and will be heading up there," said Heather Webster, who dropped off toiletries on her way to work.

At last count, the bar had collected more than $13,000 worth of items, according to Zombies’ regular customer Rickey Steinke, who organized the effort.

"My wife and I walked away and we were absolutely humbled. It was amazing,” he said. "This isn't Zombies’ first fundraiser. They do this on a regular basis, whether it's for cancer (or for) muscular dystrophy.”

Long before the tornado hit, Steinke had made plans this week to visit his former military platoon sergeant who lives in Moore, the tornado’s ground zero.

"His family's been affected by it and many other guys that I've been deployed with have been affected by it too,” Steinke said.

Instead of waiting to depart on Thursday as he originally planned, Steinke left Tuesday, carrying a load of donated items in a rented U-Haul truck.

The American Red Cross, meanwhile, was looking for donations of a different kind — money and blood.

The agency said due to devastation on the ground, donations like clothing and supplies won’t get far.

"It's still pretty much a mess out there. The streets that were once there aren't there anymore,” said Rafael Aviles, the agency’s regional communications manager. “So if you can give financially, if you can give blood, find some way to give."

Aviles said the Red Cross also is sending manpower, volunteers from Texas, Arkansas, and non-affected parts of Oklahoma.

However, he said crews from San Antonio may have to wait until later in the week to head out.

"It goes in the order of proximity,” Aviles said. “Being that we're so far south, we're probably not looking at being called today. But we do have a team ready to go. "

In a news release, the Salvation Army said it is “on the ground” in Oklahoma.

It said its Oklahoma City command is providing canteens to help feed and bring refreshments to first responders and tornado survivors.

For a list of recent stories Katrina Webber has done, click here.