State officials have asked the United Way of the Plains to coordinate volunteers who have descended on Baxter Springs to help clean up debris left behind by the tornado that struck the southeast Kansas town late Sunday afternoon.
The tornado, rated an EF2 by the National Weather Service, struck just after 5:45 p.m. Sunday in the Cherokee County town of about 4,200 residents. The tornado damaged dozens of homes and businesses as it sliced through Baxter Springs on its 8-mile track, officials with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management said.
“We plan to set up a structure that will empower the local community to coordinate an efficient and speedy cleanup for the residents affected by Saturday’s tornado,” Mark Stump, United Way of the Plains’ director of direct services, said in a statement.
Those interested in volunteering to help with cleanup in Baxter Springs can call 211, which is the United Way’s 24-hour information line.
People interested in donating to Baxter Springs tornado relief can make checks payable to United Way of the Plains with “Baxter Springs Tornado” in the memo line, then mail to United Way of the Plains, 245 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202.
Red Cross volunteers from the Midway-Kansas chapter have opened an emergency shelter to help residents affected by the storm. The shelter, which offers a safe place to stay, a hot meal, minor first aid and “a shoulder to lean on,” is at the community center at 1101 East Ave.
People wishing to offer assistance to disaster victims can contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.RedCross.org.