HARRODSBURG — Some local individuals and organizations are focused on helping their fellow Kentucky residents recover from deadly weather that hit Eastern Kentucky on Friday.
This area was largely spared from the destructive force of the tornadoes that killed at least 21 people and injured hundreds more in Morgan, Menifee and other counties, but Kelly Votaw of Harrodsburg has first-hand experience with the aftermath of the devastating weather events. She was part of a group that went to Joplin, Mo., last year to help with the massive recovery effort there and is currently working from the list of items that were needed there in the immediate aftermath.
Votaw, who is organizing a relief effort for Friday’s tornado victims with other members of Southside Christian Church on U.S. 127 near Harrodsburg, took to Facebook over the weekend to begin reaching out to people who want to help. She said people interested in donating anything are encouraged to contact her or the church, but from experience, she knows organizing and feeding those working on cleanup is extremely important.
“Right now, it’s things like plastic, disposable utensils and easy-fix meals,“ said Votaw. “Yes, the people there are going to need clothing and furniture, but that is not the need right now.”
A list of items most in demand will be finalized today at a meeting at Southside. Votaw said chain saws — and people who can use them — will be vital during the cleanup phase.
In addition to many responses to her online plea, Votaw said the reaction from others she contacted directly in the community, including many pastors, has been positive. At today’s meeting, church members begin forming teams to head east in the coming days and weeks.
One of those who likely will make the trip has a direct connection to tragedy. Votaw said Southside’s new youth pastor, Matthew Riley, recently came to Harrodsburg from a church that was destroyed in West Liberty.
While many will be willing to lend a helping hand in the cleanup over the coming weeks and months ahead, Votaw hopes people continue to be mindful once it is time to rebuild.
SO YOU KNOW
- For more information on how to participate in the relief effort being headed by Kelly Votaw at Southside Christian Church, call (859) 612-2895. Donations can be brought to the church on U.S. 127 near Harrodsburg during the day.
- To donate money to Bluegrass Red Cross by phone, call (859) 253-1331. Checks also can be made payable to the American Red Cross and mailed to Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross, 1450 Newtown Pike, Lexington, Ky. 40511. You can designate the donation for tornado relief in eastern Kentucky.
- Those organizing other relief efforts are encouraged to post information about their activities at facebook.com/amnews.