West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

April 25, 2013 — International and local organizations are coordinating a wave of assistance and raising donations for the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas last week that killed 15 people and injured hundreds. They are particularly in need of blood donations and financial donations to reputable charities. Lists of emergency resources and donation sites have been published by CBS Dallas Fort Worth and KTRK-TV in Houston.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army both have resources in the area and they are accepting donations, including food, shelter, and medical care. Many churches and organizations have opened their doors to residents of West in need of temporary housing and basic necessities. Trucks carrying donation boxes and bottled water have become a commonplace sight. The fair and rodeo grounds, site of the annual WestFest celebration, is the hub of donations where thousands of volunteers have been busily sorting through boxes.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič both visited West and offered financial aid. West was founded by Czech immigrants more than a century ago, and now bills itself as the “Czech Heritage Capitol of Texas” complete with Czech bakeries, restaurants, and festivals. Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg announced a donation of $200,000 to rebuild the Sokol building in the town, which is the center of Czech culture and social life.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and fans have donated thousands of dollars in gift cards, $40,000 in cash, and boxes filled with relief supplies (bottled water, diapers, canned goods, etc.) at Rangers Ballpark on Tuesday morning. Employees and baseball players loaded a truck with donations for West.

Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities, on behalf of the family that owns and operates the Dallas Cowboys, have donated $100,000 to help West. Salvation Army personnel are also collecting financial donations from fans who wish to help at the NFL Draft Party at the Cowboys Stadium today.

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