The LGBT community of Joplin, Missouri, is a small one, but the community’s heart is bigger than even the biggest of gay meccas.
After one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history ripped through the center of the western Missouri town of 50,000, made famous by the song “Route 66,” the LGBT community is coming together to help support their friends and neighbors affected by the disaster.
The May 22 tornado–an EF-5 6 miles in diameter–tore through the town destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and taking the lives of at least 122 locals. Among the structures destroyed was the building housing the Unity/Sprit of Christ Metropolitan Community Church congregation of Joplin, a Christian denomination founded for and by LGBT people in 1968 in Los Angeles. Also destroyed was the home of the MCC pastor, Steve Urie, and the homes of many of the members of the LGBT community.
Despite the destruction, the LGBT community across Joplin is reaching out and supporting one another. According to the Dallas Voice, one of Joplin’s two gay bars, Pla-More Lounge–which was spared destruction in the cyclone–opened its doors to LGBT folks in the community as a relief center and “charging center for cell-phones and laptops.”
One of Missouri’s largest LGBT advocacy organizations, PROMO, is teaming up with the Equality Federation to attract support from across the nation to assist with the needs of storm victims. The joint press release is below.
Dear Equality Supporter;
Last night, Joplin, MO, a city about 60 miles west of Springfield in Southwest Missouri, was destroyed by a tornado. They are still assessing the damage, but it is already clear the damage is devastating. You can follow the updates of the assessment and see photos and videos here.
Like many other organizations, PROMO and Show Me No Hate are coordinating a statewide effort to collect donations and supplies* to help Joplin.
The LGBT community was directly affected in Joplin, including the loss of the Unity/Spirit of Christ Metropolitan Community Church (SOC-MCC of Joplin), the LGBT-affirming church in Joplin. When the tornado struck the church, the congregation was holding a Sunday evening service. Luckily, they were able to reach the basement and are safe and have received medical care, but the church building is gone, as well as many of the congregation members’ homes, including the home of the pastor and his partner.
Please click here to make a donation to help the LGBT community in Joplin. 100% of the proceeds raised through this effort will go directly to the Unity/Spirit of Christ Metropolitan Church of Joplin, where LGBT individuals and allies can receive the supplies. You can drop off supplies at one of the following collection sites. Each of these collection sites has committed to collecting supplies to go directly to SOC-MCC of Joplin.
*Supplies collected include:
Hygiene Products and Toiletries
Blankets and Clean Clothes
Shoes (flip-flops/one-size fits all styles)
Nonperishable Food Items
Prepaid Visa and Mastercards
GLO Center 518 E Commercial Street Springfield 417-869-3978
Tue, Wed, Fri or
call to confirm someone is there
Spirit of Hope MCC 3801 Wyandotte Street Kansas City 816-931-0750 LGCCKC LGCCKC Pride Booth will
be a collection site June 4-5
Kansas City firstname.lastname@example.org MCC of Greater St. Louis 1919 S. Broadway St. Louis 314-361-3221
Show Me No Hate St. Louis Contact Ed Reggi
Check back on the donation page here as more collection sites are added.
Thank you for thoughts and donations. The LGBT community in Joplin greatly appreciates your help during this heartbreaking time. It is up to each of us to help all of us.
You are urged to help out however you are able in these difficult times for our brothers and sisters in Joplin.