How to make meaningful donations to Eastern Ky.

Those who donate items to Kentucky flood relief efforts are often well-meaning, but sometimes excess supplies can create problems locally while leaving other needs unmet.

“Many people who donate don’t necessarily realize the unintended consequences of such a donation. For example, it could prevent schools from opening on time, it could lead to financial costs for the local community which has already experienced quite significant economic hardship as a result of the disaster,” said Damian Morales, Head of Recovery disaster recovery at Good360.

Massive flooding killed at least 39 people and destroyed nearly 1,400 homes, according to preliminary reports from the American Red Cross, in eastern Kentucky in late July, leaving victims to seek temporary housing and emergency supplies .

The Herald-Leader spoke with people from three organizations on the ground in eastern Kentucky to help with recovery efforts about what is currently needed. Here’s what to know about donating to flood relief efforts at this stage of disaster recovery.

How to Give Meaningfully in Eastern Kentucky

A surefire way to give something that will be used to meet current needs is to make monetary donations, Morales said.

“In terms of preventing what we call disaster after disaster, which is unsolicited property…we really encourage monetary donations to locally approved nonprofits, because those organizations nonprofits can use this funding to purchase products locally, helping to reinvigorate the local economy, which is often negatively impacted after a disaster,” Morales said.

Some local relief efforts received excess used clothing and hand sanitizer, Morales said. Although most nonprofits won’t accept used clothing, it’s a common item that people think about donating.

County Line Community Church is one organization that received too many used clothes. Senior Pastor Anthony Mullins said the only clothing the church accepts are new items that can be given directly to a family.

“We stopped collecting clothes. We have such abundance,” Mullins said. “I think it’s the number one thing people want to give away, because we all have such an abundance of it in all of our homes. We have so many in the area right now it’s overwhelming for everyone. »

County Line Community Church provided assistance to flood victims throughout the region, from evacuations to temporary housing and material needs.

“What we have done here is we have prepared hot meals, we have distributed water, cleaning products, toiletries, clothes, wheelbarrows, buckets, shovels, everything what those families would need,” Mullins said.

Although the church does not seek used clothing donations, there are many items you can still donate to the flood relief center. Mullins said some of those items include monetary donations, gift cards, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, bath items and more.

This isn’t the first time nonprofits in Kentucky have received too much of certain items while having unmet needs in other areas.

“We recognize that in Eastern Kentucky, many communities are already receiving a surplus of products that they don’t need and haven’t asked for, and that’s becoming problematic,” Morales said. “We saw something similar in western Kentucky in response to the December tornadoes of last year.”

Good360 has an Eastern Kentucky landing page on its website where a list of current needs is posted. The list was last updated Aug. 23 Monday, and the organization is working with Kentucky Emergency Management and Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to assess the most pressing needs. Here are some of the items in demand:

  • Building materials, flooring, roofing, tools, furniture/appliances

  • Mold remediation products such as Tyvek coveralls (sizes L and XL), pump sprayers, industrial fans, box fans, dehumidifiers, extension cords

  • Cleaning equipment such as wheelbarrows, brooms, mops, brushes, sponges, rakes, buckets, tools and shovels, all-purpose cleaners

  • Flashlights, battery-powered or solar-powered indoor lights, headlamps

  • Mattresses, mattress toppers, air mattresses, new women’s and men’s shoes, new towels, washcloths and hand towels, new pillows, blankets and sheets

  • Laundry detergent, baby bath items, infant formula, personal care items, dog and cat food

  • Tents, sleeping bags, camp showers, propane heaters, grills, blankets, coolers

Chloe Forman, global response manager at the nonprofit All Hands and Hearts, said another item people need is menstrual products. AHAH has been working in Eastern Kentucky since the disaster began and the organization is currently seeking local volunteers through September 29.

“We were lucky to be on the ground quite early, just as the floodwaters were receding and they were finishing up the search and rescue, and got volunteers with boots on the ground quite quickly afterwards. that,” Forman said.

Mucking and gutting are the main tasks, but Forman said volunteers don’t need to have specific work experience to help.

“There’s a huge, massive need and the need is really, really widespread, so I think as far as the community is concerned, there will be, you know, months and years of recovery in general,” said Forman. “For us, I think it’s about trying to figure out what the community needs and how we can have the greatest impact during the time we’re here with the funding we have.”

There are also volunteer opportunities that are less physically demanding than mucking and gutting. Volunteer information is available online at All Hands and Hearts.

“There’s a lot of need here, so anyone who wants to lend a hand, there’s a lot of ways to do it,” Forman said.

Where can you make cash donations?

Monetary donations can be made online to a number of non-profit organizations working on flood relief. Here are some of the online donation acceptance efforts right now:

Please contact [email protected] with information about other nonprofits seeking donations for Eastern Kentucky flood relief.

Have a question about the recovery in Kentucky for our duty journalism team? We would love to hear from you. Complete our Know Your Kentucky form or email [email protected]

Meredith Howard is a duty reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat. She graduated from Baylor University and previously freelanced for the Illinois Times and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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