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story.lead_photo.caption United Way of Central Missouri Vice President Theresa Verslues sorts through and separates items donated for distribution for those affected by the May 22, 2019, tornado. These items and many more will be housed at Capital West Christian Church Event Center for distribution. Photo by Julie Smith / Fulton Sun.

There is now an urgent need for items to fill disaster response kits for victims of flooding and the May 22 tornado that struck Jefferson City, according to Ann Bax, president of the United Way of Central Missouri.

The necessary items may be taken to the Disaster Recovery Donation site at Capital West Christian Event Center, 1315 Fairgrounds Road. The site is accepting donations daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. until further notice.

"They want to open it up for distributions on Friday," Bax said. "It's an urgent thing."

The coordinated donation site for items needed by victims of recent storms in Central Missouri opened Wednesday afternoon, a day earlier than expected.

Of immediate need are items to fill "2019 Central Missouri Disaster Recovery Kits."

Those kits may be seen at the United Way's website. Once on the home page, click on "Central Missouri Disaster Recovery Kits" to see lists of items needed for storm victims.

Donors need not fill entire kits and may donate individual items listed.

"It's important that people understand what the needs are," Bax said. "We are eager to get items within the kits."

A number of disaster response kits — bathroom, bedroom, cleanup, clothing, disaster cooking, elementary school, kitchen start-up and personal care — are to be distributed to victims.

A Bathroom Kit would include hand soap, bath soap, two three-piece towel sets (each including a bath towel, hand towel and wash cloth), a small trash can, a shower curtain (and hooks) and a bath mat.

A Bedroom Kit would include a sheet set (including fitted and flat sheets, pillowcases and a mattress pad), a polyester or acrylic blanket, and two pillows to match the set.

A Cleanup Kit includes two 1-quart bottles of bleach; a 5-gallon bucket with a resealable lid; liquid laundry detergent; household cleaner; sponges; scouring pads; a scrub brush; clothes pins; disinfectant dishwashing soap; work gloves; 24-bag rolls of large, heavy-duty trash bags; insect repellant, air freshener; and eight cleaning towels.

A Clothing Kit includes a pair of jeans or Docker-style pants, a shirt (polo, button or T-shirt), new underwear and a new pair of socks. Donors should measure jeans/pants and to put with an appropriate-sized shirt, socks and underwear, as well as mark gender and size on paper to be placed with the outfit.

A Disaster Cooking Kit includes a manually operated can opener; long-handled spoon; slotted long-handled spoon; spatula; large package of plastic knives, forks and spoons; large package of disposable plates, bowls and cups; 2-quart sauce pan with lid; medium skillet; small container of dish detergent; two dish cloths and two dish towels.

School supplies are needed, as are basic supplies for kitchens.

Items for Personal Care Kits would include hand towels, small bath towels, bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, nail files, lotion, lip balm, tissues and sunscreen.

Also, anybody wishing to provide financial assistance to the United Way of Central Missouri's Disaster Recovery Fund should visit the United Way website or the American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri website.

Cash or checks are accepted at the event center or at the United Way office, 205 Alameda Drive in Jefferson City.

Volunteer cleanup efforts wrapping up

The cleanup effort in Jefferson City is nearing another stage, officials said Wednesday morning.

"On Friday morning (the United Way) is having an unmet needs group meeting," Bax said. "We're going to look at 'What is everybody is doing? What are the resources going forward? And what are the gaps?'"

Providing aid and services to victims of flooding and of the May 22 tornado in Jefferson City is really just beginning.

It's likely the volunteer sign-up site at Capital Mall, 3600 Country Club Drive, will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, according to Deb Hendericks with Missouri Emergency Management. The site had sent about 750 people out to help with storm cleanup, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Hendricks made the possible closure announcement during Wednesday's news conference to raise awareness of the opening of Multi-Agency Resource Centers in Jefferson City and Eldon.

The centers — one-stop shops where private and public agencies offers services to disaster victims — are to be held today and Friday in Jefferson City and Saturday in Eldon. About 30 agencies have committed to participating in the MARCs.

The need for general volunteers is winding down, Bax said.

"The first pass — with our spontaneous volunteers — with debris removal, is going very well," she said. "We're looking to make sure we have all those project sites listed and on our radar to address them."

The next step is for people with technical skills, like carpenters, roofers and other tradesfolks to work in the recovery area.

And, she reiterated, people who have any sort of storm damage should call 211 to be placed on a list of clients needing services so volunteers can come out and help with the cleanup.

The 211 service will remain focused on tornado recovery, Bax said. But it will also at some point transition to a general response.

"You have to be flexible and fluid," she added. "Things change very quickly. We have to make sure we're best utilizing the resources."

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