Residents of Oklahoma are struggling to recover from devastating tornadoes earlier this month that killed 24 people and damaged thousands of homes. Mainers want to help, but it's hard to know who to trust with our donations, ensuring that the money will get where it's needed most. So the Bangor Salvation Army has a solution.

I spoke with Captain Tim Clark at the Bangor office today and he said they have been flooded with calls. Obviously there's a great need. It's hard for many of us to comprehend what that must be like, to lose literally everything you own in a matter of minutes. Many of the victims have lost their homes, all their clothing and food, and their vehicles. Water supplies are tainted or cut off.

The Salvation Army is there, helping the victims to recover and rebuild their lives, but they can't do it without the public's support. Captain Clark said the best thing Mainers can do is make a financial donation, rather than giving clothing or food.

"If we have very large items," Captain Clark told me, "there's an expense to transporting the items there and so the money that's being spent to transport the things could have instead been used for the direct service to the people, and that's why it's just a much more practical way of supporting, in this case is through a cash donation."

Donating through the Salvation Army is easy. Credit card donations can by made over the phone by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or online at the national Salvation Army website.  You can also send a check, made out to the Salvation Army with a notation of  "Oklahoma disaster relief" to: The Salvation Army, 65 South Park Street, Bangor, ME 04401. You can also text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone. To confirm your gift, respond with the word "yes." For more information, call the Bangor Salvation Army office at 941-2990.