Recovery efforts are just beginning for those in the path of the devastating tornadoes that hit six states Friday night. Local and national relief groups and volunteers stand ready to rescue, feed and shelter those affected by the storms, which killed at least 90 people.
The tornado outbreak created near-unfathomable levels of destruction in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, authorities said. From a crushed candle factory in Kentucky to a devastated Amazon warehouse in Illinois, the storms showed no mercy to those in their path. Kentucky in particular was hit hard by the storms.
Here are some ways you can help in relief efforts.
Before donating, do your research.
Before donating, especially to a lesser-known organization, you should do a little research to make sure it is reputable. Sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar rate nonprofits on transparency and effectiveness. The Internal Revenue Service also allows you to search its database to find out if an organization is eligible to receive tax deductible contributions. And if you suspect that an organization or individual has committed fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, which is part of the Department of Justice.
Here are some local groups that are collaborating.
Blood guarantee, which collects blood donations at its southern locations, asks people to schedule appointments due to a “critical need” for supplies in Tennessee and Kentucky.
For people in the Bowling Green, Ky. Area, the Bowling Green Fire Department is looking for volunteers to help with recovery efforts. Send the department a Facebook message with your name, contact information, and the type of assistance you can provide.
Brother’s Brother Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based disaster relief organization, is accepting donations in order to make donations to food banks in Arkansas and Kentucky. It is also sending items to victims and emergency personnel in affected areas.
Kentucky Baptist Convention, an organization of Baptist groups, is raising funds to help its equipment on the ground in affected areas of the state.
Branded kentucky, a Lexington clothing store, is donating all proceeds from the sales of its “Pray for Kentucky” t-shirt to communities affected by the tornadoes. The shirt costs $ 20.
The Kentucky State Police in Mayfield they are asking interested volunteers call 270-331-1979.
Taylor County Bank in Campbellsville, Ky., is accepting donations by mail to its fund for tornado victims. Her mailing address is PO Box 200 Campbellsville, Ky., 42719.
The Western Kentucky Team Tornado Relief Fund, created by Governor Andy Beshear, is collecting donations for victims in the western part of the state.
Some national organizations are helping.
AmeriCares, a health-focused relief and development organization, has dispatched an emergency response team to Kentucky and offered assistance to healthcare facilities in several states. The organization is accepting donations to help fund these efforts.
WATCH OUT, an organization that works with impoverished communities, is collecting money to provide food, cash and clean water to tornado victims.
Convoy of Hope, an organization that feeds the hungry, requests donations to help survivors in affected states.
TO Feeding america Kentucky location is raising funds to help provide people with “ready-to-eat bags of food.”
Global empowerment mission, a disaster relief organization, has partnered with local groups and is raising money to help its team on the ground in Kentucky.
GoFundMe has created a centralized center with verified fundraisers to help those affected by tornadoes. It will be updated with new fundraising events as they are verified.
International Medical Corps, an organization that provides emergency medical services, is raising funds to provide shelter and essential items to people.
The Red Cross has opened shelters and is asking people to make appointments to donate blood. Both your national arm and your local chapter in western Kentucky are collecting donations.
The Salvation Army solicits donations to help tornado victims in Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Rubicon Team, a disaster relief organization, is raising money to help its team of military veterans and volunteers clear roads in western Kentucky.
The United Way of Kentucky solicits donations to provide support services to families across the state affected by tornadoes.