“100% of Shelter Oklahoma Schools Donations Remain in Oklahoma”

In light of recent media coverage regarding the dispersal of funds by national disaster relief organizations, Shelter Oklahoma Schools  would like to restate its commitment to ensuring that 100% of all donations to the PTMF will remain in Oklahoma and will go directly rebuilding, prevention, and tornado readiness activities at schools and in communities throughout the state.

We’ve partnered with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation to oversee all donations and have full faith in their sterling reputation as one of Oklahoma’s most honest, respected, and transparent organizations.

Shelter Oklahoma School’s vision is to become a permanent fixture in raising funds and advocating awareness for improvements in safety standards in Oklahoma’s schools and public spaces. We’re committed to working with engineers, superintendents, and public officials to design and construct the safest structures in the world, regardless of the cost. The spaces that protect our children should be on the cutting-edge of developments in safety and storm readiness technology.

The fact of the matter is that one life lost to insufficient storm shelter is too many, and what took place at Plaza Towers Elementary last Monday should never happen again. No amount of money or manpower should stand in the way of saving the life of even one life, whether it be next month, next year, or in the decades to come.

Shelter Oklahoma Schools is grounded in the idea that severe weather readiness does not begin when the sirens sound or when a tornado touches the ground; instead, safe harbor from tornadoes should become the foremost priority in the planning, construction and upgrading of Oklahoma’s schools and public places. The devastation we’ve witnessed across the state over the last week and the stories and accounts of lives endangered and lost will serve as a persistent reminder of the need for long-term planning and drastic improvements in these standards in Oklahoma.

The tornadoes in Moore in 1999 and May 20th, along with those in Shawnee earlier this month and in Joplin, MO, in 2011, should be more than enough evidence to change the way Oklahoma prepares its structures for storms. When last Monday’s EF-5 tornado touched down outside Newcastle, meteorologists immediately began to warn that traditional above-ground safe places simply would not protect those in the path of the tornado, but many people, including the children inside the schools that were destroyed, simply had nowhere to go.

Reinforced, below-ground shelters have become a mainstay of homes built throughout Oklahoma over the past decade, but little has been done to equip schools and areas of public access with the same level of protection. The cost of researching, designing, and upgrading adequate shelters for large numbers of people has prevented government spending, which is where Shelter Oklahoma Schools steps in.

The further we advance the mission of SOS, the more audacious the scope of our undertaking becomes. Our success depends on the support of backers and advocates at every level, from $1 to $1,000,000. And with your help, through financial contributions and social advocacy, we can change the way we protect every child in Oklahoma.