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OTC Continues to Receive Donations for Joplin

In the wake of the devastation in Joplin many are looking to lend a hand. Ozarks Technical Community College is accepting donations on its campus until Thursday at 5 p.m. KSMU’s Justin Lux stopped by to speak with organizers about how citizens can do their part.

Volunteers wrap clear tape around brown, cardboard boxes at the intersection of National Avenue and Chestnut Expressway

Following Sunday’s disaster countless volunteers have stepped forward at OTC to help collect and box items that will be sent to Joplin. One of those volunteers is Tanya Willhite, who was in that area Sunday and rode out the storm.

“I’m actually from Carl Junction which is right next to Joplin, I was actually in that area when it hit. And…I’m just so surprised at the overwhelming reaction just everywhere for Joplin…. It is just such a beautiful city and it’s so sad that no one gets to see the beautiful city that I saw on Sunday morning, but I am so thankful that everyone is doing this for the people of Joplin,” she said.

As those affected by Sunday’s tornado try to rebuild their lives, volunteers at OTC will be accepting donations from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Wednesday and also until 5 p.m. on Thursday. Joel Doepker is a spokesman for OTC.

“We’re asking the community to bring out non-perishable items, toiletries, new clothing. New items are really stressed right now, the rescue efforts are asking for new items since used items are harder to pack. So new, non-perishable items and any kind of dried foods would be fine,” Doepker says.

The college has been using two large trailers from its truck-driving program to transport items. Doepker says the trailers were filled within eight hours, and have already made one trip to Joplin and back. Debbie Carlstrom, one of the volunteers, says she was not shocked at all with Springfield’s response.

“That’s part of the beauty of the Ozarks, is that the people step up. We do what we have to do to help others. That’s just the way we are,” she said.

Tanya Willhite says it’s moments like these that make her realize how compassionate people can be.

“It’s the same reaction that I had whenever Carl Junction got hit by a tornado, you suddenly realize that everyone is just a person. Everybody is American suddenly and you get together and everyone is helping each other. You’re not this group or this group, you’re just working together,” Willhite said.

OTC’s trailers are delivering the items to College Heights Christian Church near Missouri Southern State University, where they will be unloaded and distributed throughout the Joplin area.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.

Anchor Tag: OTC is also accepting monetary donations. It has not yet decided which agency it will pass those financial donations on to. For a slideshow of the volunteers, you can visit our website