Group collecting tornado donations at Walmart

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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 12:00 am

The local group Vets4Vets wasn't thinking about fellow veterans Wednesday.

Members of the organization to support Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were thinking about the victims of the tornado that struck Oklahoma earlier this week.

Jen Schmid, an injured veteran of the Iraq war, and Porscha Howard, a member of Vets4Vets, were stationed at the doors of the Bellevue Walmart at 15th Street and Cornusker Road to collect nonperishable items for the victims of the EF-5 tornado, the most powerful tornado on the enhanced Fujita scale with winds in excess of 200 mph.

So why is a veterans group helping tornado victims?

“What would you do without toilet paper?” Schmid asked in response.

In the first two hours, more than five shopping carts were already filled with toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. Some giving donations brought out carts full of supplies.

Walmart shopper Kathy Garza donated bug spray because she thought that would help.

“Tell your dad good luck,” she told Schmid.

Schmid's father is taking the supplies to Moore, Okla. The group ended up receiving enough to fill a trailer and a pickup truck with donations.

The group, which is affiliated with Lutheran Family Services, is not asking for monetary donations. Instead, they are directing that assistance to the American Red Cross, which accepts donations by visiting redcross.org, by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 toward relief efforts.

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