Where your donations for western Kentucky went, and what families still need

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 9:48 PM CDT
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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’ve seen Kentuckians step up to help one another, and so have state and federal officials. FEMA approved more than $15 million total, in assistance for Kentuckians. About $11 million of that went toward housing assistance. Relief money went to 16 different counties, and more than 16,000 Kentuckians received those dollars.

Now, three months later, the specific needs of the region and its people are changing.

Kristin King works for the Graves County fairgrounds, which has spent those months helping thousands with relief efforts in the aftermath of the tornadoes. Their warehouse has been filled with clothes, toys and toiletries. But King said as living situations change, they are switching their focus because many of those items are no longer needed.

“We’re over 100 days out now but we’re still cleaning up debris. People think like, ‘oh you’re in the rebuild,’ well not so much. We still got people moving from shelters into temporary trailers and things like that. There’s still no space for them to go in the homes,” King said.

As the people of western Kentucky move into those spaces, they need to fill them with household items.

“If you were going from a hotel room where you had nothing and there was no house waiting for you, and you were going into an empty place, what would you need?” King said.

So they’re now asking for kitchen appliances, flatware, bed sheets, and more.

And as the rebuild does begin for some, western Kentuckians will also need construction supplies. But Beth Davisson with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce asks those who want to help, to coordinate their support.

“Work with organizations that are really behind the rebuilding and reorganization of western Kentucky. Habitat for Humanity, Kentucky charities,” Davisson said.

She said monetary donations are especially helpful at this point because they can go toward a variety of those unmet needs. Davisson added that it will take years to rebuild, so every bit of assistance is still crucial.

“Living in central Kentucky like we do, it’s easy to feel removed from it, but we need to keep our eyes on Western Kentucky and keep supporting them in all the ways possible,” Davisson said.

There are a variety of ways you can still donate, like the Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund, or the KSR and Kentucky Chamber Foundation Relief Fund.

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