Arkansas Tornado: Three Sisters & Sunscreen

Three sisters copy

Photos by: Jen Mellard/HHI


Their mother had lived in the house for 30 years.  But those many years of building memories and strengthening family ties were not enough to hold the house firm to its foundation when the storm came.

Sunday, April 27, 2014 a massive tornado, an EF-4, plowed through Faulkner County, Arkansas and wiped the home away.  Fortunately, it didn’t erase the family.

We met these three sisters in the photo above – Ruby, in red, Wyvone in the middle and Helen – while driving from the town of Mayflower to Vilonia.  They had come, along with other family members, to pick through the rubble, trying to collect the bits and pieces that were once their mother’s home.

sunscreen unload1A team from Heart to Heart International (HHI) is on the ground in Arkansas, delivering aid and supplies to folks who survived the storm.  We brought in items like Johnson and Johnson Hygiene Kits and children’s blanket kits assembled by HHI volunteers; a lot of bottled water; batteries and flashlights; and Neutrogena sunscreen.  Quite a lot of sunscreen, actually.  Boxes upon boxes. And as these things happen, sunscreen is exactly what these three sisters were really needing.

Just before we met, the sisters had just been telling their elderly mother, who was picking through the debris, you need to get some sunscreen!  But from where?  Where do you go when everything near you is destroyed?

Not long after, our team came rumbling by in a truck full of supplies, water and sunscreen.  We made some friends this day.  Not only were we able to provide the desired sunscreen, but we also passed out hygiene kits and blanket kits with coloring book and crayons for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It was a good day with the three sisters. A good day helping the good folks of Arkansas.

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Get Your HHI Fall Newsletter Here!

newsletter 2013 imageHeart to Heart International’s Fall 2013 Newsletter is
now available for download as a PDF.

To access the 2013 Fall Newsletter, simply click one of the images in this email to download a PDF of the newsletter, or click here.

This version is designed to be easily read and viewed on your computer or mobile device. (mobile users: this is best viewed using a PDF viewer like the free Adobe Reader app). This format is also perfect for sharing with others!

newsletter image verticalThe content of this online version is the same as our printed version… But there’s more!
Look for ‘clickable’ links and images throughout to learn and see more of what HHI is doing.  In this edition you’ll learn:

  • Why Sustainability is so important to us and the people we serve
  • How HHI is addressing water and sanitation issues in the fight against cholera in Haiti
  • The amount of aid delivered around the USA & the World in the first half of 2013
  • How corporate donors help us create a Ripple Effect in safety-net clinics
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • How You Can Help in 4 Easy Ways!

Thank you for taking the time to read about the latest with Heart to Heart International…
…and Thank You for your continued support!

Teachers Make the Grade with Moore Donations

So many people stepped up to help Heart to Heart International bring direct medical aid to the people of Moore, Oklahoma following the devastating EF-5 tornado.  From individuals; to small businesses & corporations; to groups like that donated $30,000 to Heart to Heart International.

tn logo First, a little background: is a website for teachers to earn income by selling their original teaching resources such as lesson plans, worksheets, teaching guides and new & used materials.

When the folks at Teachers Notebook heard about what the tornado did in Moore, their first reaction was to figure out what to do to help.  They contacted their family of teacher shops to have them contribute products that would be sold on and money raised would be donated to Moore relief efforts.

“We had expected 20 – 30 teachers to contribute, but were overwhelmed by their response,” said Debbie Esemplare, Co-Founder, Teachers Notebook.

The response:  392 teachers donated 579 products worth $2,393 to the cause. That bundle was then in turn sold online and raised more than $91,000 for a handful of relief organizations. One third of that has already been donated to Heart to Heart International.
tn_banner“Through various connections, we were told about your organization,” said Steve Esemplare, Co-Founder, Teachers Notebook, “and were impressed with your quick response and the fantastic work that you are doing in Moore.”

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you, teachers.  And thank you, Teachers Notebook.  You all made a big difference for the people of Moore, Oklahoma.

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“Rock for Relief” to Benefit Disaster Fund; Moore, Oklahoma

Rock for Relief art

Come Monday, June 3rd, the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri is going to Rock for Relief!

Seven bands are coming together to put on a benefit concert to raise money for Heart to Heart International’s Disaster Relief Fund, in order to fund our on-going relief efforts in Moore, Oklahoma and to prepare to respond to future disasters.

The benefit is the brainchild of a group called MidCoast Cares.  “MidCoast Cares was created by an army of do-gooders to help with relief for Joplin tornado victims in 2011,” said Sondra Freeman, director of promotions for Midwest Music Foundation and owner at Sistrum Enterprises. “The benefit for Moore happens exactly two years and two days after the Joplin benefit took place at Crosstown Station, at which we raised more than $10,000 for Heart to Heart International. We hope to raise that, and much more, at this year’s event.”

We’re very excited about this concert!  Here’s more info, and the bands that will play Monday night…

The Beautiful Bodies
Six Percent
Antennas Up
Not a Planet
She’s a Keeper
Cover Me Badd

Doors open at 6pm

Tickets are available at the door for a $10 donation.
A $20 donation at the door gets attendees a VIP pass that includes two drink tickets and access to a VIP lounge area. The first 75 VIP entrants receive a limited edition commemorative t-shirt.

Silent auction and raffles items include season passes to Cricket Wireless Amphitheater, tickets to upcoming concerts such as The Postal Service and Kenny Chesney, passes to the Kansas City Zoo, T-Bones tickets, local gifts cards and much more.
For more details on the concert, silent auction and raffle items, visit:

Moore, OK Boy Seeks Aid from Heart to Heart

Moore KMBC The ABC affiliate from Kansas City, KMBC-TV, is in Moore, Oklahoma, just one of the many news operations in the city covering the tornado disaster, the aftermath and the clean-up.  One of their news crews captured a wonderful story of survival, about a boy who was trapped in his school by the EF-5 tornado.

His father brought him to get medical treatment on the Heart to Heart Mobile Medical Unit, which is set up in middle of the relief operations.  As Heart to Heart volunteers treated the boy, KMBC documented his story onboard the MMU.  Here’s the video, the story starts about 1:00 in:



Heart to Heart Responds to Moore Tornado

Moore AppealAs of this writing, Heart to Heart International is on the ground in Moore, Oklahoma, the scene of a devastating EF-4 tornado that has left a path of destruction, death and has torn apart many lives.

Our Response Team is currently working out of our Mobile Medical Unit at a shelter in Moore, plugged into the overall response network, ready to serve the needs of those hurt by this storm. Both HHI staff and volunteers are there making this happen for the people of Moore.

Heart to Heart will also very soon be deploying aid in the form of Care Kits and other supplies to those displaced by the twister.  We will need more Care Kits in our relief pipeline, please help by following the assembly instructions here.

Please DONATE NOW in the ways below, to help relief efforts like the one in Moore.

Thank you!

With your help, we can help the people of Moore, Oklahoma and others who are in need.


It’s Our Birthday! Big Plans Ahead…

You may notice a new look around Heart to Heart… that’s due to our 20th Anniversary icon we’ve unveiled today!

So… what do you think?

We have several events planned around our 20th Anniversary, and there’ll be plenty more info coming down the pike.

First up: Heart to Heart will be part of the Joplin Walk of Unity, Tuesday, May 22, 2012 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of that devastating tornado.

Again, stay tuned for more info about our 20th Anniversary events…


Images Of Henryville

These photos from Henryville were taken during Heart to Heart’s nearly week-long operation in southern Indiana providing medical aid with our Mobile Medical Unit and distributing Care Kits to residents in the region.

The images are from downtown where the tornado did the most harm.  The damage was great, but the restoration is well underway due to the resolve of the local community.  And we at Heart to Heart want to thank the residents of Henryville and surrounding communities for letting us serve.



Continued Service For Henryville

Another day has passed for Heart to Heart on the ground in Henryville, Indiana and we saw more people seek out medical aid from the Mobile Medical Unit.  The MMU has become the town’s First Aid Station where residents and responders and volunteers come for a variety of medical needs and mostly they come for a tetanus shot.

The doses were provided by the Joplin Community Clinic as a way to pay it forward from one town that suffered much to another.  And the generosity has impressed many in this small southern Indiana town. One young man named Justin stopped by for a vaccination. He was off to assist his neighbors clean up and wanted to be protected in case he suffered a cut or stepped on the many nails and screws amongst the debris.  Astonishingly, his home was knocked off the foundation and ripped in half, yet he was out helping his neighbors first, because he said, they were worse off.


There are several people whose homes are in dire shape, or simply do not exist as any type of home at all.  I took some time to walk though the center of town, documenting the damage.  What I saw, beyond the ruined houses, was a beehive of activity.  Residents sifted through broken belongings, volunteers chopped down broken trees and did myriad jobs. There is so much to be done.



We’ll have more photos and info from Heart to Heart’s efforts in Henryville soon.  Plus ways you can continue to support tornado relief around the country.