Programs / May 6, 2024 - May 2024

2024 Oklahoma Tornado Response

Oklahoma Tornado Relief

Between April 26-28, over 100 tornadoes hit the Great Plains area of the Midwest United States. NECHAMA organized an emergency response as soon as it was safe to do so.

We first drove to Holdenville in South Central Oklahoma to respond to an April 27 tornado that killed two and damaged many properties. Working with the local county emergency management office, we assessed houses that were severely damaged or destroyed by the EF3 tornado (tornadoes are classified on a scale of EF1 – EF5) and then helped with debris removal in town.

Mandy, a client, shared: “I’m a tornado victim in Holdenville, Oklahoma. Your team came and helped today with tree debris. Great bunch of people. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate it. I will carry the kindness shown to me today for many years.”

For two days we also worked on a farm 10 miles outside of Holdenville. The farmhouse and barn had been completely destroyed, and, in addition to debris removal, we helped clear fence lines. FEMA will provide housing assistance but if this farmer has no fenced pastures, he has no livelihood.

From Holdenville, we redeployed 2 ½ hours north to Bartonsville, a small city that was hit with an EF4 tornado on May 6. There, partnering with Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, we worked on brush and tree removal on many properties in a residential neighborhood that the tornado had cut through.

As in most of our deployments, all of our clients had lower incomes, and most were elderly and/or had a disability. They appreciated our efforts. Our client Kimberlie said: “We would like to give a huge thank you to the gentlemen of the NECHAMA team for doing the limb removal from the May 6th tornado here in Bartonsville. My husband Steve is disabled and we cannot even begin to thank you enough!”

In both Holdenville and Bartonsville, we were met with open arms and appreciation in these two communities that have no Jewish presence. We were particularly gratified for the warm hospitality provided by the Barnard Memorial United Methodist Church and its pastor in Holdenville.

We welcomed a number of volunteers who joined NECHAMA for the grueling work. One volunteer, Kendall, spent two days working with us at the Holdenville farm and Jay even drove 2 ½ hours each way to assist in brush removal in Bartonsville. NECHAMA is truly built on the work of volunteers, and they are essential for the success of our mission.

We especially appreciate how the local Jewish federations, synagogues, JCCs and Hillels in Tulsa and Oklahoma City strove to be helpful and all utilized their lists to amplify our collective work in the state. They all appreciated having a Jewish relief and recovery agency helping provide disaster relief in the very non-Jewish southern and northern parts of Oklahoma.



Max Manasevit

Director of Operations

[email protected]

© 2024 NECHAMA - Jewish Response to Disaster, Registered 501(c)3

Design by Saint Paul Media