LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – December tornadoes devastated parts of western Kentucky, wiping out some communities. It’s a long road to rebuild for areas like Mayfield, Dawson Springs and Bowling Green.
We saw Kentucky people stepping in to help each other, as well as state and federal officials. FEMA has approved more than $15 million in total, in aid for Kentuckians. About $11 million of that went to housing assistance. The relief money went to 16 different counties and more than 16,000 Kentuckians received those dollars.
Today, three months later, the specific needs of the region and its inhabitants are changing.
Kristin King works for the Graves County Fairgrounds, which has spent months helping thousands with tornado relief efforts. Their warehouse was filled with clothes, toys and toiletries. But King said as life situations change, they change focus because many of these items are no longer needed.
“We’re over 100 days away now, but we’re still cleaning up the debris. People think like, ‘oh you’re in the rebuilding’, well not so much. We still have people moving shelters to temporary caravans and things like that. There’s still no place for them in homes,” King said.
As people in Western Kentucky move into these spaces, they need to fill them with household items.
“If you left a hotel room where you had nothing and no home waiting for you, and you went to an empty place, what would you need?” said the king.
So now they are asking for kitchen appliances, cutlery, bed sheets etc.
And as reconstruction begins for some, residents of Western Kentucky will also need building materials. But Beth Davisson of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is asking those who want to help to coordinate their support.
“Working with organizations that are really behind rebuilding and reorganizing Western Kentucky. Habitat for Humanity, Kentucky Charities,” Davisson said.
She said monetary donations are particularly helpful at this stage because they can address a variety of these unmet needs. Davisson added that it will take years to rebuild, so every help is still crucial.
“Living in central Kentucky like we do, it’s easy to feel alienated from it, but we need to keep our eyes on western Kentucky and continue to support them in any way we can,” Davisson said. .
You can still donate in a variety of ways, such as the Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund or the KSR and Kentucky Chamber Foundation Relief Fund.
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