The Muskogee Phoenix is joining in relief efforts by accepting donations for those affected by flooding. 

Although the water seems to be receding in some areas, it may be weeks before the water recedes enough for officials to inspect area bridges and roadways to determine if they are safe and passable.

Water is being released from Keystone Dam into the Arkansas River. Nearly everyone downstream is affected, whether it's flooding homes or causing motorists to find creative ways to get around. In the meantime, people are finding ways to help out their neighbors.

Businesses are affected, some by closure in the flooded areas and some by a reduction in staff who can't get to work.

Cpl. Steven Ward, a soldier with the 120th Engineering Battalion of the Oklahoma National Guard, assisted in the evacuation of Braggs residents, using a Black Hawk helicopter.

"It's not about us, it's about the people hurting and in need: they are our people, Ward said. "They are Oklahomans and Americans, so they are family, and family takes care of each other."

We agree. Residents around here have pulled together in the past, and will continue to do so as they are needed. We want to be a part of that, and with your help, we hope to collect some of the items needed to get our neighbors through.

Some of the needed items include: Canned chicken, tuna, canned vegetables, Q-tips, toothpaste, wet wipes, lighter fluid, pillows, blankets, batteries (all sizes), kitchen trash bags, towels/washcloths, canned fruit, boxed meals, cotton balls, nasal spray, kitty litter, small dish soap, saltine crackers, trash bags, gallon zip bags, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mayo, lunch meats, toilet paper, peroxide, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, wide-head brooms, bleach, squeegee mops, gloves, sponges, Clorox wipes, dust pans, paper towels, giant garbage bags, masks to cover nose and mouth, eye protection, scrub brushes, mops, buckets, laundry detergent, and power tools for possible cutting of debris. 

If you would like to contribute, come by the Muskogee Phoenix at 214 Wall St.

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