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Western Ky. communities ask for money, not goods, amid cleanup effort

Flats of water continue to be delivered to the areas hit hardest by the tornado.
Flats of water continue to be delivered to the areas hit hardest by the tornado.

Just two weeks after a deadly tornado struck western Kentucky, communities there are “overflowing” with donations and supplies. Officials are asking that people delay physical donations and consider giving money instead.

Don Costello, deputy director for Graves County Office of Emergency Management, said Tuesday that the impacted communities are grateful for the continued show of support, but they don’t have the capacity to continue managing truck loads of physical donations. 

Organizations or individuals gathering supplies should check with the community they intend to give the donation, and make sure it can be received. The best way to help at this point, Costello said, is to send financial donations to bona fide organizations, such as the Western Kentucky tornado relief fund or local churches who are housing displaced families. You can also visit your local blood bank to donate blood.

“What we’re finding is that the declared communities have plenty of stuff,” said John Bobel, public Information Officer for Lexington Emergency Management, which has been working closely with emergency management agencies in western Kentucky. “During a disaster, what can create a new disaster is a well-meaning organization just sending a truckload of stuff to a community that doesn’t have the means to unload, store and distribute it.”

As of Tuesday, 77 people in Kentucky have died of injuries sustained in the storms.

Jasmine Demers is an investigative reporter for LPM covering youth and social services. She is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Email Jasmine at jdemers@lpm.org.

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