10 days after the storm: What tornado victims need the most right now

It’s been 10 days since the Miami Valley was devastated by more than a dozen tornadoes on Memorial Day. Since then, people have been looking for ways to help one another by any means necessary.

“Last week, I think we started off initially where the main need was clearing off the roads, clearing residential yards of downed trees and utility poles,” said Deena John, the public relations coordinator at Sinclair Community who has been heavily involved in tornado relief efforts. ... “And now what it is that we’re noticing is there’s a lot of need for baby supplies, formula and diapers and things like that.”

The community has rallied since the night of the tornadoes and has made a difference in big ways and small ways. But there is still much work to be done. We checked in with some of the organizations and individuals at the center of fund-raising campaigns and relief and clean-up efforts to find out what the biggest needs are right now.

Here are some things they said to keep in mind as the community continues to rebuild.

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One big thing leaders and volunteers we spoke with agreed on was that the most helpful thing people can donate right now is cash. Many organizations like the Dayton Foodbank are emphasizing the impact that simply donating cash can make. A dollar goes a lot further than material items when organizations are able to buy specific items needed to help victims with their immediate needs.

Here are a few of the big funds and how to contribute:

Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund

The Dayton Foundation has established the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.

The fund was established to "allow the Foundation to quickly distribute disaster relief funds to charitable organizations that currently are working to help provide food, clothing and shelter for our friends and neighbors who are affected by these storms," according to the Dayton Foundation website.

Contributions can be mailed to The Dayton Foundation, 40 N. Main St., Suite 500, Dayton, OH 45423.

A donation can also be made on online here. 

The Foodbank

A special fund and campaign has been established for those impacted by the Memorial Day tornadoes that ripped through the area.

Cox Media Group Ohio, which owns Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV, WHIO Radio, K99.1FM and several other media properties, has partnered with The Dayton Foodbank to immediately distribute food in the hardest-hit communities impacted by the destruction.

The food will be distributed with mobile farmer's markets that will provide free food in impacted areas. Donate directly to The Foodbank on this special fund page: https://thefoodbankdayton.org/donate/

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American Red Cross

The American Red Cross said the best and quickest way to assist those impacted is to donate money, since it takes time and money to sort, store and distribute donated items. To make a $10 donation, visit RedCross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word RedCROSS to 90999.


The Foodbank of Dayton is still accepting donations of non-perishable food items. The Foodbank is asking for bottled water and non-perishable food item donations. They request that cans have pull-top tabs, as can openers are not always accessible.


Donating furniture is not an immediate need right now. In a few months, this will become a greater need. However, many survivors do not have a place to put furniture donations right now and some donation drop-off sites are becoming cluttered with big items like furniture sets, explained Libby Ballengee, co-host at The Gem City Podcast and a volunteer who has been on the ground working tirelessly since the tornadoes touched down.


Clothing donations also will become more important down the road. Drop-off organizers are urging people to “please not just dump entire closets off.” Churches and donation sites have started to become “impromptu Goodwills,” according to Ballengee. If you have clothes you want to donate to organizations, volunteers recommend  first contacting the drop-off site to make sure they actually need the specific kinds of clothes you’ll be donating. This will ensure needs are met without overwhelming donation centers.


Mark Pompilio, marketing director at the Community Blood Center in Dayton, said they are good on immediate supplies. That does not mean, however, that donations will not be needed again soon.

“We are a little nervous for the end of the month, especially around the Fourth of July when people are less energized about helping. ... Around here we don’t like to cry wolf. If we’re reaching out like we did this past week it’s because it had to be done,” Pompilio said.

There is an eight-week eligibility gap for people who already donated immediately after the Memorial Day tornadoes. That's why, Pompilio said new donors are going to especially be needed at the end of the month, around the holiday. The most efficient way to help the Blood Bank, is by making an appointment at www.donortime.com.


Bottled water donations have been substantial and this is no longer as great of a need, John said.


  • Montgomery County and St. Vincent de Paul have set up a Volunteer Reception Center at Sinclair Community College to help place volunteers where they are most needed. The Reception Center is located at 220 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. The VRC is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. "It's critically important that we get volunteers registered so we know who they are, what they're capable of and what they're interests are so we can use them for the long term," said Alexander Mingus, manager of ministry formation with St. Vincent de Paul.
  • The City of Beavercreek has been working directly with Be Hope Church to organize volunteers helping with cleanup efforts. They just announced that no more appointments for people with chainsaws are needed at this time. They are completely booked and thank everyone who has reached out.
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  • "Bottled water is no longer needed, is what we're hearing,"  said Deena John, the Public Relations Coordinator at Sinclair Community.


If you are leading cleanup efforts, volunteer efforts or donation drives, please update us on your greatest needs right now so we can help the community understand where they can make the biggest impact. Please send us an email at contact@dayton.com, message us on Facebook at Facebook.com/daytondotcom or fill out this form below:


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