Glenn Beck's Mercury One has donated $350,000 to a new group that builds storm shelters and safe houses within schools in Oklahoma, just days after a new round of storms rocked America's heartland.
In the wake of Friday's tornadoes—the second time in just over 10 days that the Oklahoma City area has been battered by deadly twisters—Beck's charitable organization was on the ground within hours and moved to help Shelter Oklahoma Schools.
“All those with children will tell that their kids' safety and security is tops on their daily priorities lists," Beck said. "Knowing that our donation will go toward shelters that make kids safer during the school day is a heartwarming thing."
Mercury One presented the $350,000 check to the group on Saturday.
Beck added that seeing Shelter Oklahoma Schools "do so much good so soon after the storm" proves that "people can quickly come together and provide for one another without having to wait on government to take care of them.”
In addition, Mercury One donated $250,000 to the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office to help them fund the purchase of a mobile command center to better prepare them for tornadoes and other disasters. Several of the deputies whose homes were destroyed also received funds from Mercury One.
Mercury One has raised more than $1.7 million for tornado relief efforts in the Midwest, topping more than $500,000 of it in a single day through 6,000 donations. The organization's goal is to raise $2 million. (And 100% of Mercury One's donated money goes to relief efforts; no "overhead" or "administrative costs" are funded by donations.)
And much of last month's fundraising and relief efforts were powered by social media. Within hours of the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado Beck took to Twitter to coordinate relief efforts. Within hours he'd corralled volunteers with trucks who loaded them with food, water, and diapers. Beck then joined Mercury One and Operation Blessing on the journey to Oklahoma to provide relief.
Beck also harnessed the wide reach of his TV and radio shows to share many inspiring stories of neighbors helping neighbors in Oklahoma.
Upon his return to Dallas, Beck took some air time to praise his audience members who'd given so much of their time and money to help the tornado victims.
“I believe this radio audience and this growing network has the most incredible listeners, readers, and viewers in the country, possibly the world,” he said. “I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who really do believe that the world can be a better place.”
This wasn't the first time Beck asked his audience to help those affected by a widespread natural disaster. When Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City last fall, Mercury One was one of the first organizations to provide relief to hard-hit areas such as Coney Island.
In just two days Mercury One raised more than $300,000 to help Sandy victims. In the end, Beck's audience ended up raising just under $2,000,000 for the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund.
Mercury One President Joe Kerry met with members of New York Christian Resource Center (NYCRC) at a church in Coney Island not long after the hurricane hit and was surprised to discover that no other organization had reached out to provide relief.
So Mercury One teamed up with Operation Blessing, immediately dispersing $100,000 in supplies to 20 churches in the area; the pair continued to provide funds and volunteers to assist in clean-up efforts.
Jim Esposito of the NYCRC praised Mercury One’s efforts.
“You have no idea what you guys have brought to us today—the hope that’s descended here in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and beyond," he said. "You were the first people to come to this community, to this church and to see what we need. And that’s God’s honest truth. They didn’t know where they were going to turn today. And I’m glad that you were there. Thank you so much.”
Mercury One also partnered with the group HopeNYC for its Day Of Hope, providing supplies and care packages for those affected by Sandy.
NYPD officers were especially hard-hit. While many in other professions took time off to rebuild, police worked longer shifts to deal with the effects of the hurricane. So Mercury One contributed $250,000 to the NYPD Hurricane Sandy Assistance fund so its members and officers could focus on the safety of the citizens of New York City rather than how they'd find the money to rebuild their own lives.
And Mercury One doesn’t just provide disaster relief. The group also helped raise more than $525,000 to honor the late Chris Kyle (the former Navy SEAL was killed last February by a troubled fellow veteran Kyle was trying to help). Donations went to the Chris Kyle Memorial and FITCO Cares, a foundation started by Kyle.
Mercury One also organized the Day of Service during Beck's Restoring Love event in Dallas last summer. In one day, thousands of volunteers descended upon the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to take part in a variety of service projects.