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Dallas Tornado Disaster Relief: How to Help, Donate, and an Update on Progress

Now almost four full days since nine tornadoes touched down in North Texas, there is still plenty of need—despite the progress.

Shawn told you this morning in Leading Off that the Insurance Council of Texas estimates that $2 billion worth of property was damaged by Sunday’s tornadoes, the most expensive severe weather event in the history of Dallas-Fort Worth. Early estimates by the ICT said about 100 homes had been damaged in the 15-mile path of the North Dallas tornado, one of nine that touched down. That number now seems conservative.

So let’s talk about how to help.

Many streets remain closed in and around North Dallas. Councilman Lee Kleinman said only residents and service crews would be allowed to enter and that all should be prepared to show ID. Basically, avoid the neighborhoods south of Royal between Preston and Hillcrest. There’s also a pocket of Walnut Hill and Marsh with a good amount of closures. Further east, stay away from Harry Hines Boulevard below Walnut Hill, going down to about Lombardy. Here’s the visual:

It’s going to rain today and tomorrow. There is a 55 percent chance beginning at 3 p.m., which graduates to all-but-certain through the rest of the day and night. (And, by 5:20 p.m., the sky is night-black and it’s pouring downtown.)  It could very well rain until Saturday morning. That’s a concern for anyone who had their roofs blown off or their walls opened up. If you want to help with cleanup, North Texas Crisis Cleanup is coordinating the hauling off of debris. You’ll need to be affiliated with a relief agency, like the American Red Cross. Head here for more details. The North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church is also helping. This is the link you’ll want for more information.

In Richardson, the city has set up a coordination center at the Huffhines Recreation Center at 200 N. Plano Road. You can go there between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to sign up. If you’re a victim and need a place to put your things, Assured Self Storage in Sachse is offering a free unit of any size to victims for three months. Here’s that location. Just bring your ID.

Let’s talk schools. In Dallas ISD, only John J. Pershing Elementary remains without power. Kids there are attending classes at the Alfred J. Loos Field House, near Spring Valley and Marsh. Power has been restored at Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa, David G. Burnet, and Arthur Kramer elementary schools. Three Dallas ISD schools—Thomas Jefferson High, Cary Middle School, and Walnut Hill Elementary—were badly damaged. Twenty schools had been without power. That’s now down to one, not counting the campuses that sustained irreparable damage.

The district is requesting monetary donations or gift cards. (Mail gift cards to 9400 N. Central Expressway, Box 21.) The Dallas Education Foundation has set up its own fund here. (Write “Dallas ISD Tornado Relief” in the box.) Cary Middle School students are attending Medrano and Franklin middle schools, and both need uniforms. Here’s more info on Franklin and on Medrano. The Loos Field House also needs umbrellas for the kids from Pershing, so they can wait for transportation in the rain and not get soaked.

Richardson ISD was also hit hard. Fifteen campuses were left without power. All but Richland Elementary have been restored. Superintendent Jeannie Stone appealed to residents in a YouTube video. She said more than 100 students were displaced after the storms. She said these people are now homeless and will need assistance. Network Community Industries is overseeing a fund for these families. Head here and select “for the biggest need.”

If I can add any resources to this list, put them in the comments or email me here.

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