By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Journey Church in Norman has opened its doors to shelter victims of the tornado that swept through Moore on Monday. They are also collecting donations for the victims.
Journey Church is located off of west Tecumseh Road near Interstate 35, across the street from Norman Regional HealthPlex.
“We’re getting all of the necessities for living together in order for everyone to be as comfortable as possible overnight,” said Journey Church Norman Campus Pastor Bryan Waldenville.
Donations were pouring into the church’s doors Monday night in the form of water, nonperishable food items, clothes, blankets, pillows, diapers, baby food, formula and toiletries. If anyone would like to donate items they are encouraged to drop them off at the church.
The church has opened their auditorium, or sanctuary area, for victims seeking a place to stay.
“We wanted to give families the opportunity to get away with some peace and quiet and a place to take a deep breath,” Waldenville said. “I can’t imagine what it’d be like to walk through that devastation and see what they saw.”
Journey Church also has been sending caravans to Moore to pick families up who were affected by the tornado and need a place to stay.
Today, Waldenville said, Outback Steakhouse will go to the church to cook food and take it to those affected and those helping in Moore. Interurban Restaurants also has partnered with the church to help feed everyone involved.
As far as volunteer work goes, Waldenville said they had at least 250 volunteers show up to help on Monday and more are scheduled to come in the next few days.
“Right now we’re just wanting to make people understand that we are open and we’re here to serve,” he said.
As soon as the City of Moore says it is clear for volunteer groups to help start cleaning up the affected areas, Waldenville said they also will help with debris removal, boxing items up and anything else that they can.
Additionally, an emergency shelter for displaced tornado victims has been opened in Walker Tower, 1400 Asp Ave. on the University of Oklahoma campus, said coordinator Rebecca Hooper.
Hooper said families began moving in about 8:30 Monday night. There are enough volunteers at this time, she said, and she is referring all donations to the American Red Cross. Anyone who needs to stay at the shelter, can call 325-2511.