In early December, a devastating tornado tore through Western Kentucky. The violent storm left a trail of destruction through multiple communities, including Bremen, Princeton, Dawson Springs, and Bowling Green. As noted by CNN, tornadoes and tornado warnings were themselves not uncommon in the region.
But the sheer destructive power of this particular storm was. More than 70 people were killed. Entire communities were left without basic amenities.
Even now, more than a month after the storm, many survivors are, per The Courier Journal, temporarily living in motorhomes and trailers.
It should go without saying that the victims of this catastrophe still need all the help they can get. And rather heartwarmingly, they have been receiving plenty of aid. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still contribute, as well.
In addition to the deaths caused by the storm, it also left many Kentuckians injured and in need of hospitalization. The Red Cross began a blood drive in the days immediately following the tornado, in an effort, with governor Andy Beshear noting that blood was needed for many tornado-struck areas, reports WLKY. Given that, per Lex 18, there is still an ongoing nationwide blood shortage, donations are still desperately needed.
According to the American Red Cross, blood donations are down 10% across the United States. Reportedly, it’s the worst decline seen in more than a decade. This is, the organization continued, likely due at least in part to the pandemic—yet winter weather combined with the tornado has further exacerbated the issue in Kentucky.
In a heartwarming display of holiday spirit, toy drives and other donation centers received overwhelming support. Fox 17 even reports that one center in Hopkins County received so many donations that it actually ran out of space. Still, if you can find a nonprofit or facility nearby that provides aid to the tornado victims, you can still send physical donations such as:
- Non-perishable food
- Non-prescription medical supplies
Find Nonprofits to Support
Countless local and national nonprofits have been devoting time and effort to helping tornado victims. We’ve already mentioned The Red Cross. Another nonprofit of particular note is the Stuff the Bus Foundation. Its donation drive raised more than $170,000 for tornado relief, reports WBKO.
The Lexington Herald has published a list of nonprofits to which you can donate. These include Kroger, The Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund, The KSR Tornado Relief Fund, The Community Foundation of West Kentucky’s Disaster Relief Fund, CARE’s Tornado Emergency Fund, and the Basic Needs and Persistence Fund, hosted by the University of Kentucky.
Volunteer Your Time
When the storm struck Bowling Green, it brought down the entire power grid. Even those buildings that were not directly hit were without electricity. During that time, volunteers showed up at people’s houses to help clear downed trees, local high schools were opened to feed and house the storm’s victims, and buses provided transportation.
The above examples are indicative of a simple truth — sometimes, in the wake of a crisis, the best contribution you can make is your time and effort. It doesn’t even need to be anything complicated, either. You could even help out a nonprofit by contributing some of your own unique expertise, such as graphic design or marketing.
Participate in a Fundraiser
Last but not least, we’ll wrap things up with something we ourselves have done — fundraising. Since the storm, we’ve released two shirts, Bowling Green Love and Kentucky Forever, with proceeds for both going to tornado victims. Our contribution, however, represents only a small part of the efforts people have been making to help.
In the weeks immediately following the storm, several local restaurants partnered to donate $40,000 worth of gift cards to survivors. Bowling Green also collected nearly $30,000 from the nearby town of Mayfield, which also received significant damage from the same storm. Finally, Auctions such as the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit, which ended on December 21, raised over $3 million in relief, reports Fox Business.
The December tornado that struck Kentucky was a tragedy. But it wasn’t a tragedy that survivors had to face alone. Already, they’ve received a great deal of help from governments, nonprofits, the private sector, and private citizens alike.
And now, you know how to join their ranks.