West Seattle yard sale Saturday to help Joplin tornado survivors

(Photo courtesy the John family)
This Saturday, you have a chance to help Joplin, Missouri, tornado victims – without leaving West Seattle. A neighborhood yard sale (4726 50th SW, 9 am-3 pm Saturday) is being organized as a benefit – not only because the organizers want to help, but because they have a personal tie: Their neighbors have family in Joplin. The photo above was shared by those neighbors, Torrey and Steve John, taken during Steve’s recent trip, accompanying his father to help their relatives – here’s his dad:

We asked Torrey for more about their Joplin relatives’ story. Read it after the jump, along with more on the sale – to which you can donate, by the way, even if you can’t shop it on Saturday (they’ll be accepting donated items on Friday):

Steve’s uncle and aunt, Clarence (Pinky) and Betty, lost their home. They
survived by getting under a mattress they put on the floor. Afterward, they were able to recover their car, his wheelchair, and some personal items, including the belt buckle he received upon retiring from his truck driving job. Their son Mike lost his home and truck. Because he had been hit hard by the economic downturn, he had no homeowners insurance (possibly no health insurance), and had only liability on his truck. He broke his collar bone running down the stairs to his basement during the storm–and has stubbornly refused to have it looked at! Mike’s daughter Hannah and her husband also lost their home and both of their cars.

Currently Mike’s daughter and husband are staying with her husband’s family. Pinky, Betty, and Mike are all staying in an Econolodge in a town about 10 miles outside of Joplin, being paid for with personal funds. Because he’s in a wheelchair, things are more difficult. Steve and his father are still trying to find housing for Pinky and Betty with VA and senior assistance programs, but Joplin is not a big town and there are so many people affected it’s hard to find any wheelchair-accessible housing anywhere within 150 miles.

During the recovery, Steve and his father told of the amazing volunteers and outpourings down there. While working at the houses, multiple times a day, crews of volunteers from all over the mid-west would come by asking “how can we help?” You can see from some of the pictures some of the projects they helped with. Other volunteers also came by often, bringing pizzas, sandwiches, and boxes of bottled water.

Now that Steve and his father have returned to the Northwest, it all falls to Mike to take care of his parents while he is struggling to take care of himself. As you can guess, it has taken a huge emotional toll on all of them. Steve is doing his best to take care of as many things as he can from up here. …

Before heading down there, Steve sold one of our cars to help with expenses. His work donated the money for airfares for both gentlemen, and his co-workers donated hundreds of dollars. Now our neighbors Leah Hunkins and Johanna Lindsay have volunteered to host a neighborhood garage sale to benefit our Joplin Tornado survivors. Many friends and neighbors have committed to helping out by donating items or coming by to shop. They will be accepting items on Friday, and will be selling on Saturday the 11th from 9:00 to 3:00 at 4726 50th Ave SW. We are touched by this outpouring of support. This is one of the reasons we love West Seattle!

Here’s a map to the sale site. We’ll be checking in on Friday/Saturday to see how it’s going. One last photo: They believe this was a box spring, torn from a bed and ending up in a tree:

6 Replies to "West Seattle yard sale Saturday to help Joplin tornado survivors"

  • joseph June 9, 2011 (5:58 am)

    This is great to hear. I was beginning to wonder if anything was going to be done to help the people of our country.

  • Curious June 9, 2011 (11:12 pm)

    Are there specific times for the Friday drop-off? I can’t get there until Friday evening.

  • leah June 9, 2011 (11:42 pm)

    Hi there . .drop off any time between 8am and 8 pm. Thank you! Leah

  • Leah June 10, 2011 (9:05 pm)

    We have been just amazed and overjoyed at all the donations that have come in from all over West Seattle – just a quick list of items to choose from – pedal cart ($20), little tikes play house ($40), purses galore!, rollerblades, rollerskates, vacuum cleaner, art, tent, barbie’s dream house, pocketpets, shelving, girls size 8 clothes, vases, mugs, plates, wine glasses, books (childrens & adults), tools, childrens life vests (2), doll house with furniture, pottery, some women’s clothes, body pillow, nursing pillow, (2) booster seats and lots, lots more!!

  • Steve John June 10, 2011 (10:07 pm)

    When I got home from work today I was astonished at the amount of donated items arrayed in front of Leah and Johanna’s house.
    I want to thank everyone on behalf of Clarence, Betty, Mike, Whitley and Hannah for your incredible generosity.
    I will be on a business trip to Bentonville, AK (60 miles from Joplin!) next week and I will be sure to take plenty of pictures tomorrow to share with everyone in Joplin.

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