The American Red Cross is working with one Central Iowa company on disaster relief efforts for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado, but it could use more help from Iowa businesses, according to a local organizational leader.


Casey's General Stores Inc. is allowing customers to donate to relief efforts when they make a purchase at one of the company's stores. The program, said Leslie Schaffer, regional CEO at the Central Iowa chapter the American Red Cross, is as simple for the company as pushing a button on the cash register.


Casey's has a built-in disaster-preparedness strategy. So does Hy-Vee Inc. Both have worked with the Red Cross to set up their systems to quickly respond when a disaster happens.


And that's the ideal way for businesses to help, Schaffer said.


She encourages more businesses to do that planning during non-disaster periods. For example, the Red Cross could help a business set up a microsite that it can activate for employees to give during a disaster.


Schaffer still encourages businesses to get involved in the Oklahoma relief efforts. "Of course, we would love to have corporate relationships established ahead of time, but we're always willing to talk," she said.


The best way for businesses to get involved in the Oklahoma disaster relief is to set up a way to donate money, Schaffer said. The Red Cross also works with companies to do in-kind donations, such as delivering a truckload of bottled water, but Red Cross officials in Oklahoma have indicated that there are enough supplies coming in at the moment.

To get involved with donating money to Oklahoma, or inquire about setting up a preparedness system for the future, call Schaffer at 246-6305.