(Via press release from the Governor’s office)
Today, December 13, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on his administration’s response to the Dec. 11 quad-state tornado. First Lady Britainy Beshear joined him to announce the Western Kentucky Christmas Toy Drive for impacted families.
The Governor said:
- At least 74 Kentuckians are confirmed dead from the tornado outbreak.
- Newly reported deaths: one in Graves County; four in Hopkins County; three in Warren County; one in Franklin County.
- As of now, there are 109 Kentuckians reported as unaccounted for, but the Governor said he expects that number is higher.
- Homeowners or property owners with damage should take photos, make a list of damaged property and document everything they possibly can.
- The Graves County Senior Center and Western Kentucky Allied Services Building – the Community Action Building – have been damaged so extensively that there is no way to prepare meals. The Department for Aging and Independent Living sounded the call for assistance among community aging partners. Within 20 minutes, over 2,300 shelf-stable meals had been committed. These meals will be transported from senior centers in Breckenridge, Nelson and Fayette counties to 300 homebound seniors in Graves County by way of Community Action staff. Further work is underway to secure additional meals.
- For outside donations (material items like food, supplies, etc.) please call Graves County Emergency Management at 270-727-5114. For volunteer sign up, Graves County Emergency Management has established a website.
- The Paducah Police Department has volunteered to accept outside donations such as food and supplies. Call them at 270-444-8590 or visit 1400 Broadway, Paducah, KY 42003.
- The Kentucky State Police (KSP) is requesting ALL Mayfield Consumer Products (MCP) candle factory employees go to His House Ministries Church at 1250 KY-303 in Mayfield. KSP is in the process of verifying information provided by executives from MCP candle factory to ensure that all potential victims are accounted for. Call 888-880-8620 (MCP employee support line) if transportation is unavailable.
- KSP is also working in conjunction with Chief Medical Examiner Bill Ralston to assist with victim identification.
- Kentucky State Parks are providing emergency shelters to distressed people affected by the tornado. Currently, Kentucky State Parks are providing lodging for the American Red Cross, utility crews, first responders and displaced families.
- The commonwealth has designated the following parks as part of the state’s emergency response efforts: Kentucky Dam Village (30 rooms available); Kenlake State Resort Park (58 rooms available, park has hook-up outlets that could be used for three washers and three dryers and will accept donations); Lake Barkley State Resort Park (awaiting electricity to be restored, an additional 56 rooms will available); Barren River Lake State Resort Park (30 rooms available); John James Audubon State Park (one cottage available); Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park (no rooms are available; all 37 rooms occupied); Rough River Dam State Resort Park (47 rooms available).
- Families who are in need of emergency housing should contact their local emergency management office to request lodging. If a family in need arrives at a Kentucky State Park without having contacted their local emergency management office, park staff and volunteers should assist them in doing so when they arrive.
- Kentuckians who reside in Lyon, Fulton, Graves, Muhlenberg, Marshall, Hopkins and Caldwell counties will receive priority placement.
- Volunteers are needed at Kenlake, Kentucky Dam Village, Rough River Dam, and Lake Barkley State Parks. Volunteers will need to provide their own accommodations. Some parks can provide a camping space for self-contained camping. People willing to volunteer should email Andy Kasitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Many of Kentucky’s major agriculture operations reside in Western Kentucky and were impacted by the historic tornadoes that devastated the area. To help identify the needs of our farmers and provide a swift response, the Governor has created an Agriculture Working Group.
- More than 440 Kentucky National Guard members are supporting storm relief.
- Ninety-five fatality search and recovery soldiers are working in Mayfield.
- Fifty-five Guardsmen are providing Logistics Support to the State Logistics Support Area located at Wendell Ford Regional Training Center (Greenville) in order to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s equipment push to the affected area.
- Three National Guard Chaplains are providing spiritual guidance to soldiers and civilians in the affected communities.
First Lady announces “Toys for Team Western Kentucky”
Today, the First Lady thanked 44,358 donors who have contributed $6,258,267.91 to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. Initially, this fund will help families who lost a loved one cover funeral expenses.
Then, she launched Western Kentucky Christmas Toy Drive, a toy drive where Kentuckians across the state can come together to make this Christmas special for as many kids and teens as possible who were impacted by the Dec. 11 tornadoes.
“This time of year, we all look forward to being home for the holidays, spending time with those who mean the most to us. Now, many of our families don’t have houses to go home to. Or even worse, they’ve lost someone they love who made their family whole,” said the First Lady. “I can only imagine the pain and grief these Kentuckians are feeling at this moment. I know so many of you feel the same way, and want to know how you can help make this season a little easier for those who are hurting.”
- From tomorrow, Dec. 13, until Saturday, Dec. 18, Kentuckians can drop off new, unwrapped toys, games, books or technology in original packaging to 20 locations across the state. Thirteen of those locations are (KSP) posts and the largest drop-off location is Broadbent Arena in Louisville. People can also mail gifts to Broadbent Arena.
- To see a list of all drop-off locations and addresses, visit FirstLady.ky.gov/ToyDrive.
- Individuals can also donate $25 Visa/Mastercard gift cards. The First Lady said these gift cards are a great option so parents and guardians have flexibility to buy their kids exactly what they most want or need for the holidays, and so they can support local businesses impacted by the storms. Buying $25 cards will help state officials distribute donations equally among families, but the First Lady encouraged donors to contribute multiple $25 gift cards if they are able.
- If Kentuckians have already started a toy drive at their school, at their business or in their neighborhood, the First Lady asked them to bring those toys to one of the 20 central locations listed at FirstLady.ky.gov/ToyDrive so state officials can transport them to Western Kentucky.
- The First Lady asked Kentuckians not to wrap gifts. Instead, she encouraged people to donate gift-wrapping supplies.
- The First Lady said clothing donations are not being accepted as part of this particular drive.
“Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank our No. 1 partner in this effort, who I know can’t wait to visit Kentucky soon: Santa Claus,” said the First Lady.
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