The Norman Transcript

News Features

June 7, 2013

Canadian charity fights red tape

NORMAN — Yards of red tape nearly derailed a Canadian charity’s efforts to help Oklahoma tornado victims.

But the story had a happy ending Monday, when a truck bearing 40,000 pounds of supplies pulled into the loading area at the Gate Church in Oklahoma City. The truck’s arrival prompted organizer Dennis Sauve to breathe a sigh of relief.

“It was very comforting to see the truck was there and how appreciative people were for all the items,” he said in a phone interview Thursday.

Tony Miller, lead pastor for the Gate, did not return a call seeking comment.

Paperwork: Sauve’s encounter with American-style bureaucracy began nearly two weeks ago, when the Canadian charity Windsor Lifeline Outreach started collecting supplies for victims of the May 20 tornado, according to the June 1 edition of the Windsor (Ontario) Star. Within days, donors had contributed 40,000 pounds of food, diapers, blankets and other supplies —enough to fill a 53-foot refrigerated truck.

Before sending the supplies to the United States, volunteers gathered invoices and other documents for many of the items and sent the information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sauve said. He said customs officials told organizers that the truck driver would have no problems crossing the border because the shipment was considered as humanitarian aid.

Armed with that information, volunteers loaded the truck on May 29 and prepared to send it to Oklahoma.

But Sauve said customs officials changed their minds on May 30, saying that volunteers needed to supply additional documents for each item in the shipment.

“We were pretty confident with the certifications,” he said. “Where we fell apart was with a lot of the canned food and the rice.”

Later that day, volunteers learned that the shipment would not qualify as humanitarian aid because President Barack Obama had not declared a federal disaster in Oklahoma, according to the Windsor Star. The president issued the disaster declaration on May 31.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Features
  • March Against Monsanto Protesters rally against agro giant Monsanto

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Rain did not deter protesters at the March Against Monsanto in Bricktown on Saturday evening. A button on one man’s shirt was typical of the attitude of many of the marchers, “I’m one of those people,” it read....

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore Med Cent Groundbreaking Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

    MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost....

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple mourns loss of young lives

    When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near ...

    May 20, 2014

  • Interfaith group invites women to join

    Women of a variety of faiths brought prayers and dinner and shared peaceful dialogue recently at a Norman home. Malaka Elyazgi’s prayer sounded like a song tripping off her lips in her native tongue. The translation was equally poetic....

    April 28, 2014

  • DUal-state advance Tough field awaits Southmoore at dual state

    Southmoore’s history at Dual State is a short read. The totality of it is a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Muskogee by one point in last year’s tournament.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Myths about obesity

    The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings....

    December 28, 2013

  • How to tame an out-of-control kid

    Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. “I was on speed dial” at the school, says Edith, who is raising two ...

    December 28, 2013

  • Experts decry ‘resolution dependency’

    One of the country’s best-known fitness center chains is launching an initiative to wean people from what it calls an over-dependence on New Year’s resolutions....

    December 26, 2013

  • The 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It’s that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying....

    December 8, 2013

  • Caring for a cut Christmas tree

    Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees....

    December 8, 2013