Severe tornados struck Oklahoma Friday evening, killing at least nine, injuring almost 90 and causing further damage to an area that is barely recovering from a devastating E-5 tornado that killed 24 people and smashed schools and hospitals only 11 days earlier.
Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) volunteers, already collecting donations from the Oklahoma City and Tulsa Muslim communities and helping with cleanup from the previous tornado, are on the ground and will continue with relief efforts that have united a broad array of groups from different backgrounds.
Murat Kose, ZF East Coast Program Director, reported in an email that ZF volunteers worked alongside members of a veterans group, Team Rubicon, at a Red Cross distribution center, to unload the truckloads of donated water, canned food, diapers, personal care items and other necessities that had been collected at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
Another moment of interfaith cooperation occurred when Ms. Kose visited a Muslim brother, Saad Sulaiman, whose home was destroyed by the tornado that touched down on May 20. A Mormon group was cleaning up the wreckage of his house, and offered to collaborate with ZF volunteers whenever possible.
The feeling of unity was strengthened when Ms. Kose shared her appreciation for help that Mormons had given with cleanup at an Atlantic City mosque after Hurricane Sandy.
“One main characteristic I have seen,” Ms. Kose wrote, “was everyone in a good mood and with a very positive attitude. It was nice to see people smiling after having such a disaster and losing everything.”
Ms. Kose extended an invitation for anyone who wishes to volunteer to travel to Oklahoma even for as little as a weekend.
With your generous support, ZF will continue to provide relief, help and comfort to those affected by the recent tornados in Oklahoma.