Tri-State Residents Reach Out as Twister Death Toll Climbs

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Volunteers from the tri-state area are helping out with relief efforts in Joplin, Missouri, where a deadly tornado ripped through the community of 50,000 over the weekend, leaving at least 120 dead and more than 750 injured as it ferociously tore through homes and businesses.

Ella Gudwin, the vice president of Emergency Response at AmeriCares, is coordinating medical donations to the region from the group's Stamford, Conn., headquarters.

"Those who have chronic heart disease and diabetes in particular, as well as asthma, are conditions that people would come to a clinic for looking urgently to get their medicine re-supplied," said Gudwin, who noted AmeriCares partners with clinics nationwide, and works with two located in Joplin.

The clinics are working with doctors and nurses from the destroyed St. John's Hospital to provide care for those in need, and AmeriCares has dispatched an emergency response expert to the scene to assess the situation and report back on the community's needs, Gudwin said.

For some New Yorkers, the tragedy is hitting very close to home. Cary Fuller, who grew up in the community, said tornado warnings were a part of life there but she was unprepared for the shocking images of devastation — including photos of what remained of her her former high school.

"So much work and time and care had been put into building that high school just 10 years ago," she said, "and it was gone in a matter of seconds."

Fuller said she will be accepting monetary donations, clothing and other basic necessities to help those in need during an event next Wednesday at Los Feliz on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side.