UPDATE: Local woman organizing OK tornado relief effort

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A local woman's determination to collect items for tornado victims in Oklahoma just got stronger.

Jessica Self organized a relief effort after an EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma about two weeks ago. Friday night, more tornadoes hit the state. Moore didn't get hit directly, but it did have strong storms pass through, causing even more damage.

"Moore was affected. They were not hit by a tornado, but the storm was bad enough that a lot of our host homes and homes that were not affected two weeks ago are now damaged. And our areas where we had items being stored are now flooded," said Self.

Self is asking businesses and individuals to donate what they can to help. Aside from things like first aid kits, socks, folders, tarps and garbage bags, she needs a trucking company to volunteer to take everything to Oklahoma on June 14.

To find donation drop-off sites and learn how you can help, click the link to Self's Facebook group below.

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Jessica Self has two storage units, and they're filling up fast. Even her kids know what's going on:

"Well, we're just helping other people," said four-year-old Ireland Self.

Earlier this month, an EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, devastating the town.

"I just decided, you know what, I'm not going to look at the television, let me move on with my day," said Jessica Self.

She started an Oklahoma tornado relief Facebook group and pretty soon, donations started pouring in.

"We've gotten boxes for in here and we've gotten boxes for another storage area. Publix just gave us money that we're going to go grocery shopping with. Coca Cola is about to drop off two pallets of water," said Self.

People have been dropping off everything from socks to garbage bags and first aid kits - even writing messages on the boxes.

"They've lost everything that we take for granted every day. Things like being able to walk in your house, flip on the light switch, turn on your water and get a pair of socks out of your drawer," said Malia Hodge, who donated with Foothills Bank.

And while people have been extremely generous, Self says more is still needed.

"We are looking for chainsaw safety clothing, that's a big one because there are people using chainsaws that aren't familiar with it. We are looking for large tarps - enough to cover a house. We are looking for magnet sweep rollers to pick up nails. We are looking for heavy duty trash bags. We are looking for baby items," she said.

Donations will be accepted for the next two weeks, and then a truck will take everything to Oklahoma.

"Those moments, where they look around and say, 'Oh my goodness, we're alone' - we want to pull up in our truck and say, 'Hey, you're not alone - Tennessee loves you and we want to be there for you," said Self.

Right now, you can drop things off at Maryville Vineyard Church, but the donation site will likely change after next week, so check the group's Facebook page for updated information.


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