After disaster upon disaster, appeals are made to raise funds for relief efforts. But after the latest in Oklahoma, is there such a thing as giving fatigue?
"I don't know if I'd call it giving fatigue so much," says Nancy Blaschak, WNY regional director of the American Red Cross.
"Certainly after we see a run of disasters we get to the end of it, and people may not make as many gifts as they've had." (See Giving, cont'd below)
Sometimes You Just Have to Turn it All Off
Even before Oklahoma was added to the list, a sense of frustration-- if not fatigue -- went global.
"Never before have we been so instantaneously connected to the pain and suffering of those caught in a tragedy. But at what point do we lose our empathy and become nothing more than voyeurs?" asked Beverly O' Connor in a column in the Sydney (Australia!) Herald last month .
As images of a girl and her father watching the fires in Texas went viral online, O'Connor suggested some "self censoring" might be required, taking a respite from the flood of bad news on social media or other more traditional outlets.
Research points to a link between watching news of traumatic events, such as terrorist attacks, and stress symptoms, according to the VA's National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
" Situations such as these recent events can be particularly painful for those with previous histories of trauma, and can serve as a reminder of past events, so they should be particularly careful and conscientious about taking care of themselves, and seek support from others," says Patricia Watson, a Dartmouth Medical School PhD that works with the center.
Relief agencies have acknowledged that behavioral health should be a part of their work as they work in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
And even the federal government has acknowledged it, by launching a stress hotline and related website replete with images of Boston and other recent events, just in time for May's observance of Mental Health Month.
Relief efforts are underway. Here are some organizations that are accepting donations:
American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: Click HERE to donate online. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to immediately donate $10 to the Red Cross Disaster Fund.
Phone: 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 1-800-257-7575; for TDD, 1-800-220-4095.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief: The Oklahoma Baptist Convention says donations will "help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters." Click HERE for more or to donate
You can send checks to: BGCO Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK. 73112
Salvation Army - The Salvation Army is deploying mobile kitchens that can serve to 2,500 people a day. Click HERE to donate via their website.
You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation from your mobile phone.
You can also donate to the Salvation Army via check:
Put the words "Oklahoma Tornado Relief" on the check, and mail to:
The Salvation Army
P.O. Box 12600
Oklahoma City, OK. 73157.
Phone: 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
Feeding America - Feeding America says it will utilize a network of 200 foodbanks to deliver food and supplies. Click HERE for their website.
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma - Text the word FOOD to 32333 to donate $10 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration
Disaster Distress Helpline
Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after any natural or human-caused disaster.
Are you experiencing signs of distress as a result of a disaster?
Signs of distress may include any of the following physical and emotional reactions:
You may be suffering more than you need to. We can help!
The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support.
The Helpline is staffed by trained counselors from a network of crisis call centers located across the United States, all of whom provide:
Download the Disaster Distress
Download the Disaster Distress
And even though she's seen the organization mobilize to help in each of these disasters, she doesn't think fatigue sets in
Blaschak does understand people budget their money each year for charitable giving and everybody's only got so much money. "They wisely pay attention to that," adds Blaschak.
Tracking down how much we've given locally to the latest effort in Oklahoma is tougher than ever, and that's because of technology, she says.
"We don't get reports from our national organization until weeks after the event ends," says Blaschak.
"There's now electronic giving, especially with texting, that sends the money directly to the national organization and that money gets to people who need it faster."
Blaschak says that technology has been useful in raising money in times of need.
On The WBEN Liveline
Michael Weiner, Exec. Director
United Way of Buffalo and Erie County
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Catholic churches and missions will be collecting funds this weekend to help victims of the tornado in Oklahoma.
Rev. Richard Malone, the bishop of Buffalo, has requested all Catholic parishes and institutions to hold a voluntary collection for Oklahoma.
The funds will be used to help Catholic Charities respond to tragic loss of life and property there.