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Chicago Red Cross Joining Tornado Relief Effort In Oklahoma

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People assess the damage after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado, reported to be at least EF4 strength and two miles wide, touched down in the Oklahoma City area on Monday killing at least 51 people. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

People assess the damage after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado, reported to be at least EF4 strength and two miles wide, touched down in the Oklahoma City area on Monday killing at least 51 people. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago has begun mobilizing to help with the relief effort in Oklahoma, after a devastating tornado killed dozens of people.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports the Red Cross already had shelters up and running after Sunday’s storms in the area around Oklahoma City. After Monday’s tornado, the Red Cross has set up another emergency shelter in the devastated city of Moore.

Red Cross spokeswoman Martha Carlos said it’s too early to tell how many are homeless. As of Tuesday morning, she said authorities were still focused very much on a search and recovery effort.

“Once the area is deemed safe by first responders, then, we’ll be able to get in a little more quickly and begin to evaluate what needs are,” she said.

While well-intentioned people might be tempted to donate food, clothing and other things, Carlos said the Red Cross wants only cash donations.

“We don’t want to burden the area with ‘stuff.’ We don’t want to burden the area with people who are maybe not exactly what’s needed,” she said.

You can donate online at redcross.org, by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 contribution.

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