Now before I start this post, let me be clear on this... Giving is ALWAYS a good thing! But, let's talk about the elephant in the room...

The Response Was Huge After the KY Tornadoes

After the devastating storms this past weekend that took lives and destroyed the belongings of so many of our Western KY neighbors, it seemed like everyone rushed in to help out. Almost immediately there were semis and box trucks and SUVs packed full with food, water, and clothing that were headed to the tornado-stricken areas.

Midwesterners stepped up in a BIG way to help out people they'd never met. Even NBC News with Lester Holt featured the generosity of those in Dawson's Springs, KY, as their closing segment last night. It's glorious! But, it's also a little overwhelming...

Put Item Donations on Pause

It only took a matter of hours before the KY State Police asked everyone who wasn't a first-responder to hold off coming to the area so that they could put all of their manpower into finding the lost and helping those who were hurt. And after only a day, they were running out of room to put the donations. Remember, most of the cities that were affected were completely destroyed.

An article by NPR in 2013 reported that mountains of donations at disaster sites can often go to waste. "By some estimates, about 60 percent of items donated after a disaster can't be used. Often it's old clothing and food."

So, am I saying not to donate? No. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying be smart about WHAT you donate. And if you are organizing a donation drive, please make sure you have a plan in place of where to go BEFORE you start accepting items and communicate with the community about what's needed. Two days ago, Hopkins County Emergency Management announced that item donations had to be paused until they work out the logistics of where to put everything. This influx of items is being seen everywhere. So, have conversations with actual people in the affected area before you jump feet first into a donation drive.

WKDQ-FM logo
Get our free mobile app

What Should You Give?

Gift cards and cash are the most welcome item you can give. It feels good to donate tangible items but they are running out of room. Just make sure you are giving to a reputable organization.

There have been Facebook posts about items that are needed from those affected. There is a need for PLASTIC TOTES AND TARPS, NEW men's, women's, and children's underwear, bras, feminine hygiene products, adult diapers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and cell phone chargers. (Nobody wants your used undies and toothbrushes! NOBODY.) And it's always good to think outside the box. Things like hair ties, facial cleansers and moisturizers, contact solutions, nail clippers, dental floss, and razors are all great items to consider buying. 

Here's a list from Mayfield of immediate needs. Please remember they need NEW items.

  • Batteries - (Special request for 123 batteries for first responder helmet lights)
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Size 6 diapers
  • 4T - 5T diapers
  • Boys socks (child sizes)
  • Baby & toddler socks
  • Underwear (all sizes)
  • Contact solution
  • Contact cases
  • Tampons
  • Plastic / styrofoam Cups
  • Disposable Bowls
  • Sleeping bags
  • Cough medicine
  • Shampoo
  • Warm clothes for babies all sizes
  • Formula
  • Sippy cups for toddlers / kids
  • Tarps
  • Hand warmers
  • Utility / work gloves
  • Razors

->>>But again, please consider donating money to a reputable charity before donating items! <<<-

Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund  

Salvation Army 

Western Kentucky Red Cross Disaster Relief Fundraiser 

What Else is Needed Besides Money and Stuff?

The American Red Cross needs blood. There is a historically low blood supply. By donating blood, you could make a lifesaving difference. Here's how you can donate blood today.
Finally, there are lots of displaced shelter animals coming to the tri-state. If you have room in your home, consider fostering or adopting a pet today or donating food to a local animal shelter.

How Can I Volunteer?

Kentucky State Police have set up a hotline for those who want to volunteer or donate. Volunteers are asked to call 270-331-1979. You can also reach out to Kentucky Emergency Management or a specific county's emergency management office.

55 Heartbreaking Photos of Mayfield, KY Tornado's Aftermath

From homes and businesses being completely demolished to trees being uprooted and electrical poles being snapped in half like they were toothpicks, these photos paint a vivid picture of how destructive nature can be at its most violent.

Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan / Leslie Morgan

More From WKDQ-FM