After seeing the damage and devastation from tornadoes that tore through western Kentucky Friday night through early Saturday morning, many in the Tri-State have begun looking for ways to help.
In Northern Kentucky, at Rich's Proper Food and Drink, the struggles seen in the tornado aftermath is personal: Bill Whitlow, owner of the restaurant, is originally from Mayfield, Ky., one of the regions hardest hit by storms.
"Luckily, a lot of my family was not there at the time and anyone that was is accounted for, so we're very fortunate," he said. "But not everybody else is. There's a lot of devastation, obviously, and right before the holidays, so we just want to do whatever we can to give our little piece back."
All bottle sales from the business over the weekend went directly toward relief efforts in Mayfield. Already on Saturday night, Rich's sold more than a dozen bottles and raised over $1,000.
Whitlow isn't the only one in the Tri-State working to help those hit hardest by the tornadoes. In Florence, 7 Hills Church immediately donated $50,000 to help with relief efforts and they plan to send volunteers to western Kentucky to help with their own hands.
"We want to be able to provide the physical presence," said Kyle Waid, a pastor at the church. "We have, you know, a team of 1,500 volunteers that we can send immediately to help be a part of the relief efforts."
In New Richmond, Ind., a group started stocking a U–Haul with donated supplies to drive down to Mayfield, but quickly needed to upgrade to a 26-foot truck when the outpouring of support began pouring out of the truck.
"They might be five hours away from us, but they're still our neighbors. And neighbors help neighbors. It's been that way for years," said Ryan Ridgley.
Community members in New Richmond know all too well the pain those in western Kentucky are going through.
"We've seen stuff like this, it's happened to us, where we flooded over down to Moscow. There were the tornadoes years ago," said Ridgley. "So we know what it's like, how important a truck full of help and a message of love and care and support means to a community when they are devastated by something like this."
Other local organizations have joined in the efforts, too. Matthew 25: Ministries is collecting donations, with volunteers heading to Mayfield on Monday, and Beechwood Schools — a sports rival of Mayfield — is partnering with the city of Fort Mitchell to stock a semi-truck they plan to drive down to Mayfield.
Here's how you can help, too:
- You can drop off the following items at Beechwood until Thursday:
- Bottled water
- Personal-care products: soap, toothpaste, sanitizer, shampoo, feminine hygiene products
- Cleaning supplies: detergent, toilet paper, paper towels
- Baby products: diapers, wipes, etc.
- First aid items: bandages, gauze, tape, antiseptic, gloves
- School snacks and non-perishable food items
- Toys, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, socks
- Flashlights, head lamps, batteries
- Donate the following items to Matthew 25: Ministries:
- Cases of bottled water
- Personal care products
- Cleaning supplies
- Paper products
- Baby and infant supplies
- First aid items
- Donate monetarily to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
- Donate directly to the American Red Cross
- Campbell County is collecting the following items Dec. 13 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Dec. 14-Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Campbell County Fire Training Center at 10 Training Center Drive, Highland Heights, KY:
- Bottled water in cases
- New blankets and pillows
- Toiletries and hygiene items
- First aid items
- New underwear and socks, still in packaging
- Cleaning supplies
- Dental essentials
- NOTE: Used clothing and furniture will not be accepted.
WCPO will continue to update this list as we learn of more ways to help those affected by the tornadoes. If you are a local organization or business in the Greater Cincinnati region raising money or collecting donations, please send information on how to help to firstname.lastname@example.org.