An aerial view of homes and business destroyed by a tornado on December 11 in Mayfield, Ky. Multiple tornadoes touched down in several midwestern states late Friday evening causing widespread destruction. Photo courtesy of The United Way of the Lowcountry.

Lowcountry residents can help victims of tornadoes in central US

 By Mike McCombs 

On Friday, Dec. 10, tornadoes and straight-line winds ravaged six states and many communities across the central United States. The death toll, according to the Associated Press, has reached 88 (as of Monday night), 74 in Kentucky. 

And the worst may be to come for those who survived. Tens of thousands are without heat, water or electricity in frigid cold conditions for the foreseeable future – weeks, maybe longer. 

The affected communities need short- and long-term help to recover from the catastrophic damage. 

The United Way of the Lowcountry is reaching out to those here who want to help. The organization sent out a statement by President and CEO Dale Douthat on Monday. 

“Unfortunately, this weekend saw yet another disaster that affected multiple states — and hundreds if not thousands of families. If you’re like me, when disaster hits you want to do something to help. You also want to make sure your support is well used,” Douthat wrote. 

“Whether in the Lowcountry, or in the Midwest, when disaster strikes, state and local United Ways across the nation spring into action to help ensure that resources get where they are needed most. 

“LIVING UNITED means that we come together in the good times and the bad to help each other weather the storm 

“If you would like to donate to help the communities affected by the tornadoes, United Way of the Lowcountry will work with the local United Ways in those areas affected to make sure that 100 percent of your donation goes to where it’s needed most.” 

To donate to the United Ways in the impacted communities, go to https://bit. ly/3lXQGxx. For questions or more information, email Erin Bowman at ebowman@ uwlowcountry.org or call 843- 982-3040. 

Other ways to help 

The impacted communities, Kentucky in particular, are in need of blood donations. Supplies were already low prior to the storms. The American Red Cross, in particular, is asking those who want to help to download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. 

CARE is providing food, water and cash vouchers for residents in impacted communities. For more information or to help, visit https://bit.ly/31SSnoY. 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the tornadoes and the severe weather system. All donations are tax-deductible, and donors will receive a receipt for tax purposes after donating. Visit https://bit.ly/3INYDiv for more information or to donate. 

The Salvation Army is accepting clothing, blankets and monetary donations. Monetary donations can be made at https://bit. ly/3GDNJdi. 

GoFundMe has a list of verified fundraisers for both families and first responders in impacted communities. It can be found at https://bit. ly/3EW7Q5Z. 

Ask your preferred local church or ministry if and how they are helping the victims of the storm. 

Federal assistance 

President Biden has declared a state of emergency for Kentucky and instructed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help 15 counties there, pledging the federal government’s full support for relief efforts. 

On Saturday, Biden said, “I say to all the victims — you’re in our prayers — and all those first responders, emergency personnel and everyone helping their fellow Americans that this is the right thing to do at the right time, and we’re going to get through this.” 

Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com. 

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