Over the last few weeks, regions of the Southern and Midwestern United States have been affected by a series of deadly tornadoes.  The most recent of these occurred last Sunday, leaving more than 125 dead and 1,500 missing in the city of Joplin, Missouri.  Below is a blog post by our colleagues at our American chapter, LeadingAge, with an update on the impact of the Joplin tornado on IAHSA members in the region and ideas on how to help.

Like everyone around the country, we are deeply concerned about the people of Joplin, Missouri, and specifically on LeadingAge members. From scanning news reports and emails from members, here is what we at LeadingAge know so far:

  • Spring River Village, a retirement community in Joplin, was not in the direct path of the tornado, but has lost power and is operating on generators.  Rick Keller, administrator of Spring River reports that Spring River has taken in about 15 residents from other nursing homes or retirement communities.  Staffing has been challenging but everyone is pitching in to help.
  • Thankfully, there was no loss of life of staff, staff families or resident families.  However, 10 to 12 staff members lost all of their belongings, including homes and cars. Three to 4 staff and resident family members still have not been located.
  • Spring River’s parent organization, Christian Villages, is planning to start a relief fund for staff who lost their homes.  We will share information on how to contribute it when we receive it.
  • John Knox Village, a continuing care retirement community in Lee’s Summit, Mo., has dispatched an ambulance and three-member crew to the area affected by the tornado.
  • Our friend, the National Association of Health Care Assistants, reports that all staff from their Joplin headquarters are accounted for.  But they, like so many others, are confronting sporadic electricity and phone outages. NAHCA has created a fund to assist with its recovery efforts and to support direct care workers, residents and other staff who lost property during the tornado. Contributions can be made via wire transfer to: NAHCA Tornado Relief Fund, Arvest Bank – 7th & Main, Joplin, MO, Routing Number: 082900872, Account Number:12114816. For more information, contact Lori Porter at (417) 396-1379.
  • LeadingAge Missouri recommends that if you have supplies that you may be able to donate, the best to send them to the region is by contacting your local Red Cross office or the Convoy of Hope.  If you cannot volunteer or provide supplies, you may donate money to Red Cross online or, [U.S. cellphone subscribers] can text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

KAHSA and KHCA are working together to assist Joplin nursing home staff and their families who were affected by the recent tornado. Many are continuing to come to work, caring for elders while their own families are picking up the pieces of their lives. We are tracking the situation as best we can and will update members as we learn of new developments. The power of the LeadingAge community is apparent as we hear from members all over the country expressing their concern for their peers and asking how they can help.

IAHSA is keeping all of those affected in the region in our thoughts and prayers and will update you on the best way to help.

For more information on the impact on Joplin:

The New York Times

The Weather Channel