Courtesy of : NBC Nightly News
Correspondent: Ron Mott
JOPLIN, Mo. — The searing summer sun quickly produced beads of sweat on Lisa Dunn’s face as she and her 12-year-old daughter Mackenzie sifted through a shrine of stuff — much of it someone else’s. It had all landed on the front stoop of what used to be their home but was now a pile of ruins.
The sweat easily could have doubled as tears but didn’t on this day.
As much as people in this southwest Missouri town have have cried since the May 22 tornado that leveled or damaged nearly 8,500 homes and businesses and killed 139 , there is a growing sense of hope that helps sustain confidence and optimism about the future.
The difference between what I saw the last time I was in Joplin — during the first week of June — and now is stark.
Clean-up crews have removed mountains of debris that gave off the “just-been-hit” feeling no matter how much time had passed. That’s a great first step in making people feel like they are making progress on the road to recovery.
We came back because that road has been, and will continue to be, rocky for lots of people. Some lost their jobs as a result of the storm. Many lost their homes or loved ones. Cruelly, some lost a combination of all three.
Reports have surfaced that one of the most basic needs — food — could become a crisis for those who depend on organizations like Ozarks Food Harvest and the 300 or so relief groups it serves. The need for donated food has doubled since the tornado but supplies are dwindling rather quickly at Food Harvest’s warehouse in Springfield.
Americans opened their hearts and wallets right after the storm to help folks in Joplin. No one really knew then just how much help people would need.
Lisa Dunn and her family have relied occasionally on donated food to make ends meet. Her husband, Chris, said something I found poignant and thoughtful: “I’ve learned from people to accept help.”
I asked the Dunns whether it was tough to swallow their pride and seek the kind of help they’ve sought since the storm.
“How can pride step in?” Lisa said. “I never even thought about being prideful. It was survival.”
And that’s what it seems people here are quite busy doing: surviving.
From the waiter who opened up to us at dinner about his close call with the tornado, and how on that very day he’d been baptized in an effort to change his life, to 12-year-old Mackenzie, who wants the country to know their lives are going to “look up, not down.”
There’s hope in Joplin. There’s also a lot of need. And it didn’t take long to see plenty of both.
Contact us at Thaakat@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer or donate to our Hope for Joplin Campaign
In the wake of the disaster, hear how one local institution strives to provide spirit and life in Joplin, Missouri
An Insider’s Perspective From Ozarks Food Harvest
The massive twister leveled 30% of the comfy and otherwise welcoming town of Joplin, Missouri. 124 people perished in the tornado that rippled through the city and as rescue squads screened the areas, stories of heros and victims came to light. There was the heroic account of the Pizza Hut manager who lost his life trying to keep the doors shut to save his customers and employees, “He just had a general care for everybody,” said his girlfriend. Numerous police and firefighters left their families to put their lives on the front line and elderly couples salvaged their belongings now with no where to go.
In the wake of the madness, the heroics of those in the communities surrounding Joplin started to shine through. Shelters, volunteers, churches and average people pulled up their sleeves and made the commitment to help.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk with Denise Gibson, Director of Development and Communications at Ozarks Food Harvest.
In response to the tornado devastation in Joplin, Ozarks Food Harvest has secured many truckloads of food items and supplies that continue to be delivered to the affected areas.
Founded in 1983, Ozarks Food Harvest (OFH) is the only food bank in southwest Missouri, serving more than 300 nonprofit hunger relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties.
We wanted to be able to share Denise’s perspective of the emergency area at the time of the tornado as well as where it stands today.
As soon as the tornado hit we started making calls, we wanted to call on the safety of those who were in Joplin, Missouri. We couldn’t get through and we couldn’t get our trucks on the road because the search and rescue teams had closed everything off. About 7,000 homes were destroyed and other shelters and institutions in the area were in shambles.
Typically when a tornado hits, its regular path hits an area and then bounces up and down and continues this until it disappears. This tornado went straight through the town, it was approximately 1 mile wide and and rippled through 30% of the town. The amount of devastation it caused was truly a surreal picture unless you were there to live it and see it.
In the first four weeks, we sent 44 truckloads of food, about 1 million dollars in food and supplies to different points of distribution. We had one woman who had been living in a tent with her children in the backyard. Instead of having to travel day in and day out to a church where they might be able to eat, she was able to get to one of our nearby distribution centers so that she could take food back to her tent and could have family dinners. We were able to provide her with the only feeling of normalcy she had at that point.
Now that it has been seven weeks, the devastation is still mind boggling. Hospital windows were blown out, the tornado shook huge concrete buildings off of their foundation, I can remember the crisp image of baby pools flipped upside down on rooftops. People are working very hard to clean up the lumber and debris but its going to take more than just people. They need machinery out there to haul things away and bulldozers to help clean off the rocks and dirt that hold bad memories. There are so many great people helping and volunteering and for that the city of Joplin is thankful.
Thank you to Denise for sharing her story with us. Thaakat Foundation will be dedicating this summer to raising funds for the victims of Joplin. Proceeds will be donated to Ozarks Food Harvest where they are working to provide hope to an area and people where it is much needed.
We would like to launch our plea for donations for Joplin, Missouri. This summer, Thaakat will be dedicating it’s local campaigns to raising funds for Ozarks Food Harvest so that we may raise the hopes of those in Joplin together.
Please help us by donating at http://thaakat.wordpress.com/donate/
Brought to you by: Omar Salim/Community Service Ambassador/Thaakat Foundation
Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases need a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant and depend on the Be The Match Registry ® to find a match.*
Finding a match: The basics For a successful transplant, a patient needs a matching donor. Special testing determines whether a patient and a bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood are a good match. The closer the match, the better for the patient.*
In conjunction with the kind folks at the Hamdard Center, Thaakat Foundation hosted our first bone marrow registration drive in February. While on that gloomy Sunday we registered just under two dozen individuals, we realized this was not a cause we could abandon. Since then we have hosted six drives registering over 350 people, the majority of whom come from minority communities that the registry truly lacks.
Race and ethnicity matter Because the markers used in matching are inherited, patients are more likely to match someone from their own race or ethnicity. Adding more donors and cord blood units from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to the Be The Match Registry increases the likelihood that all patients will find the match they need.
We all have the power to help, the power to give hope.
For more information on joining the Be The Match registry or to hold your own drive, contact Omar Salim
For those of you who will be attending the ISNA convention in Chicago, we are signing up volunteers for a bone marrow registration drive held in the bazaar at the convention. Please contact us to sign up for this weekend!
Nine Facts about Tuberculosis
Fact 1 Tuberculosis (TB) is contagious and spreads through the air. If not treated, each person with active TB can infect on average 10 to 15 people a year.
Fact 2 More than two billion people, equal to one third of the world’s total population, are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB. One in every 10 of those people will become sick with active TB in his or her lifetime. People living with HIV are at a much greater risk.
Fact 3 A total of 1.7 million people died from TB in 2009 (including 380 000 people with HIV), equal to about 4700 deaths a day. TB is a disease of poverty, affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. The vast majority of TB deaths are in the developing world, with more than half occurring in Asia.
Fact 4 TB is a leading killer among people living with HIV, who have weakened immune systems.
Fact 5 There were 9.4 million new TB cases in 2009, of which 80% were in just 22 countries. Per capita, the global TB incidence rate is falling, but the rate of decline is very slow – less than 1%.
Fact 6 TB is a worldwide pandemic. Among the 15 countries with the highest estimated TB incidence rates, 13 are in Africa, while a third of all new cases are in India and China.
Fact 7 Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a form of TB that does not respond to the standard treatments using first-line drugs. MDR-TB is present in virtually all countries surveyed by WHO and its partners.
Fact 8 There were an estimated 440 000 new MDR-TB cases in 2008 with three countries accounting for over 50% of all cases globally: China, India and the Russian Federation. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) occurs when resistance to second-line drugs develops. It is extremely difficult to treat and cases have been confirmed in more than 58 countries.
Fact 9 Operation ASHA is providing tuberculosis treatment and education services in 1,412 slums spread over six states in India. It is the exclusive provider of treatment to some 3.5 million Indian citizens.
View More about info on Operation ASHA and their goals by visiting this link:
As we sat in traffic outside of the Holland tunnel I kept watching our GPS in anticipation of the miles to get closer to our desitination. Today was the day for Jaqueline Kennedy Highschool’s Bollywood Night, a Charity Benefit for Thaakat Foundation.
We finally arrived just in time and as we rushed up the stairs we saw posters on some fast facts of poverty around the globe, confetti and colors brimming our way to the top and the tone of music surreptitiously getting louder and louder.
We entered the doors to the event to see a young girl decorating hands with henna, trays of food lining the hallway and a wonderful group of kids trying to convince spectators to buy threads of raffle tickets.
Ms. Jane Valit, Puja Patel and Kristin Damo worked tirelessly with the National Honor Society at the school to arrange the event. Not only were they able to arrange for donations of food but they had the best line up of raffle items I had ever seen. From dazzling Tiffany jewelry to NHL gift cards- the group had arranged for more than 20 spectacular items to gift away at the end of the night.
The room was brimming with talent. Long time Thaakat friend, DJ Flawless had volunteered to own the music behind his turntables and kept the aura upbeat and fun.
Two young boys served as MC’s for the evening and their work was seamless, and so harmonic with one another. As each dance performance began everyone’s eyes followed the eclectic colors, clothing and moves which followed. As each student poet spoke, we listened to what we felt was so profound, so deep, so rhythmic. The band was mesmerizing, the organization was wonderful and we were just so thankful to the staff and students who arranged for this.
I have never been so nervous to speak in front of any crowd as I was on this day. The confidence that was exude from these students as they performed this evening was so enlightening and I felt that I must also step up my game to be on par.
The Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Highschool NHS, students, staff and volunteers were able to raise $1500 for charity in the name of Thaakat Foundation. I cannot begin to share my pride in the work they have done. Thank you so much!
I know that this group of students will all be so successful one day in pursuing their dreams. I hope this was an opportunity for each one of them to carry with them into their successful futures this noble effort they have made for the betterment of our local and global communities. Keep on Keepin’ on!
Peace Love and Thaakat.
As I entered the classroom to present to these young bright eyed individuals, I felt inspired by all of the ideas, diversity and vision that was around me. After I shared a little bit about how THAAKAT began and what our goals were for the future, I went on to share why community service was so important.
To my content, many of these students raised their hands to share with me how community service had been such a moral lifter for them. Some of them came to me for advice on how they could incorporate service to the community into their professinal career aspirations.
This Thursday March 3, 2011 the National Honor Society at Jaqueline Kennedy Highschool will be hosting a benefit where all proceeds will be donated to Thaakat Foundation’s local and global causes for 2011. The night will be decorated with colors, music performances and dancing with a feature presenation by DJ Flawless! As the students round up preparations, THAAKAT had the opportunity to talk to Puja Patel about what has been going on behind the scenes. Puja is a supporting member on Thaakat and teacher at the highschool. She been working non stop with the team these last few months to ensure the experience is a wonderful one for the students.
We have a great community service program and a lot of the kids don’t actually realize what is going outside of the city, especially in countries that are developing. When the topic first came up, the kids referenced slum dog millionaire, which is kind of neat that we’re getting media to showcase realities around the world. But I wanted them to realize this was real especially because it’s a school for international careers so it would be good to raise awareness with the kids.
How does the NHS team at Jaqueline Kennedy Highschool feel about the event, with it being less than a week away?
They are nervous but they just want to see what the outcome is going to be. They are excited about new people coming to visit the school to see how they react to what the team has been working on.
How is this different than other things the school has done?
Most of the things that we do with the school is based on local institutions and events. Though we do a lot of community service events, we’ve gone beyond that to do something that is also diverse.
I feel like when I joined the team, the answer was always yes. I was really encouraged by all of the team’s positivity towards events and ideas. When Thaakat first came in to present, you guys told them to expand their ideas and inspired them beyond just what Thaakat’s vision was. It really motivates them to grow.
What has been the best part about organizing this event so far?
This is the first time the kids have gone out to businesses to talk to people in a professional setting. To get to watch the kids reach out to a community on an executive level with such confidence really made me feel great about everything.
To the students and staff helping to arrange the event, we are all really looking forward to this! A special thanks to Jane Valit, Kristin Damo, and Puja Patel.
Thaakat Foundation presents: Amani Memon
In our quest to get youngsters to give back to our communities, we meet all sorts of people. Many of these young heros are talented, compassionate and have an abstinent want to make the world a better place. Hoorah to all of you who have made a step towards making a difference. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Amani Memon. Amani had helped to host a BBQ in support of Thaakat Foundation last year and this year, as a student at Elmhurst College, she has been working to organize a prosperous charity event on campus that not only brings culture to campus but will be recognizing Thaakat as their worthy cause. Prior to kick starting planning, Amani has already raised almost $1000 for the cause, her way of saying, we can do this and yes it will be a success! Here is your chance to meet the delightful youngster who aims to inspire difference through her own actions.
Thaakat: What was it that made you realize you wanted to get involved in charity work?
Amani: I always liked doing service work because Alhamdulillah I’ve been blessed with a lot. My father always told me that we should help those in need and the only way to do that is to get involved and get others involved.
Thaakat: Do you feel youth should have an obligation to giving back to their communities?
Amani: I feel that youth should/do have an obligation to serve our communities. We are the future of this world. How we treat others and conduct ourselves in terms of service work will reflect in our communities.
Thaakat: Where do you feel the face of poverty will be a decade from now?
Amani: If we do not start contributing and helping others in need, global poverty will be at an all time high 10 years from now. I strongly believe that if we work diligently at it, poverty will slowly start to diminish in communities.
Thaakat: What is a quote that you live by?
Amani: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi and “The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart” – Rumi. If you want something to change for the better than you, yourself must change and take initiative to make it happen. And if your intentions are pure, they will show through.
Thaakat: If you could describe yourself in a few sentences what would they be?
Amani: I am committed to whatever I do; whether it is school, service work, or family. I enjoy helping others in need because it makes me feel like I accomplished something worthy. I am passionate.
Thaakat: What are your career aspirations?
Amani: I am a psychology major and a chemistry minor – pre-pharmacy. I hope to use my background in psychology and my doctorate in pharmacy to help understand the problems that individuals have. I also want to ultimately open clinics/pharmacies in third world countries with doctors to offer health care to those in need.
Thaakat: And lastly, why did you reach out to Thaakat as your worthy cause?
Amani: I think Thaakat is an outlet for those who want to help others. It allows the chance to directly affect a persons life positively, when a chance to work hands on is not present. Thaakat caters to the youth of today.
I would like to welcome you all to our 3rd annual Thanksgiving event with the elderly at Hamdard Center. Before sharing any further information I would like to commend all who reached out to volunteer.
There are a few reasons why we have this event every year. The elderly at Hamdard visit the center a few times every week to spend some time in a social atmosphere which they unfortunately do not get enough of as they begin to reach older age.
They are so thankful that we visit, their faces light up in joy when we speak with them and share that we are there by choice. Often times you’ll catch them hug you as they leave or sing the group a song. I feel it’s important for us to remember where we came from, to be thankful for our culture and the wisdom past generations have shared. Our way of sharing thankfulness is by giving time to those who deserve it. Thank you to the Hamdard Staff for allowing us the opportunity and to our wonderful board and volunteers for being so kind and generous.