Tracking donations for Joplin tornado relief

JOPLIN, Mo. – We have a follow-up to our 5 on Your Side investigation Thursday night, that tracked donations for Joplin tornado relief.

It's been nearly three years since the Joplin tornado disaster, and what we learned is that your donations may still be sitting in the bank.

The tornado was one of the worst in us history, killing 158 people and causing billions of dollars in damage. St. Louisans stepped up and donations poured in.

We told you Thursday night that the Salvation Army collected around $5 million for Joplin relief, but three years later almost $4 million of that hasn't been spent.

A look at the actual numbers may surprise you. In a document obtained by NewsChannel 5, of the $1 million spent, nearly $455,000 went to expenses.

Like $38,000 for salaries, $4,700 for employee medical insurance, and $15,000 for uniforms. The remaining $645,000 went to specific assistance.

Now, the Salvation Army has a track record of doing great work and taking a long-term approach with Joplin relief dollars is not unusual. They did the same thing with Superstorm Sandy.

But critics say they need to be more transparent so when people send in their donations in the wake of a disaster they know it could be years before that money is spent.


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