Regional agencies on the scene in tornado ravaged Western Kentucky region

Nonprofits in the region have deployed emergency support personnel and assets to assist people who were impacted by at least 24 catastrophic tornadoes that ripped across five states impacting people in Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Marita Salkowski, American Red Cross regional communications director the Central and Southern Ohio Region, said two emergency response teams from southern Ohio were sent to Mayfield, Ky. and that more units will go there to assist with mobile feeding.

“Our focus will be to assist with shelter, feeding people, health and mental health needs,” Salkowski said. “We help them with their most immediate needs.”

The assistance includes having registered nurses there to work with doctors and pharmacists to help people get the medications they need that might have been lost in the disaster, she said.

In addition, the organization provides disaster mental health professionals to help people overcome the “trauma they experienced with emotional and mental health recovery. It’s a very long road for them,” Salkowski said.

Salkowski said the Red Cross does not accept supply or material donations for these incidents because of the time it takes to sort, clean, repair, store and ship to a disaster site.

“We’d rather spend more time with those in need and that financial donations can be quickly used to buy what is needed at the time,” she said. “Ninety cents out of every dollar donated to Red Cross humanitarian aid goes directly to assist those families.

The Community Blood Center is assisting neighboring blood centers in Kentucky. Patients in Kentucky and Tennessee need help and the local blood center is asking local type O donors to help replenish the regional supply.

“As a neighboring blood center it’s important we help communities affected by the devastation brought on by the tornados. CBC is committed to not only providing a solid blood supply for communities we serve locally, but also being there for other communities that need our assistance,” said Tracy Morgan, vice president of donor services.

Blood donations can be schedule at or by calling (937) 461-3220.

A 45-member Ohio Task Force One team left Vandalia Sunday night and was already on the scene working by 8:30 a.m. Monday. They can be deployed for up to 16 days, according to spokesman Phil Sinewe.

Sinewe said the Ohio team was doing wide area searches in Graves County located southwest of Mayfield, Ky. He said the team will go through and map out large areas to determine if there is a need for search and rescue teams, checking on people and get them to where they can obtain health, and map out the conditions of homes and buildings on each property.

“We’re there to help and be of assistance to local officials,” he said. “It’s up to Kentucky and FEMA officials if they need more help.”

On Monday morning, another regional organization, Matthew 25: Ministries, deployed its disaster response team of nine members to Mayfield, Ky., according to Ben Williams, director of disaster relief.

Williams said Matthew 25: Ministries deployed the Tide Loads of Hope trailers, Duracell Powerforward truck, P&G and Cintas box trucks, and our additional pickup trucks. They will be providing laundry services for those impacted by the tornadoes and distributing supplies throughout the impacted areas. The supplies include personal care kits, cleaning items, baby diapers, tarps, first aid and safety kits, chainsaws, generators, batteries, and more.

“Our operational template is to work with partners who are local to the area – already established in the recipient location, aware of the needs in the surrounding community and able to get that aid to the people who need it,” Williams said.

He said Matthew 25: Ministries also welcomes financial gifts, which are used to acquire, process, package and ship aid to humanitarian partners or disaster victims.


AMERICAN RED CROSS: The American Red Cross is supporting those affected by the tornadoes that happened throughout the Midwest Friday and Saturday. A $10 donation may quickly be sent by texting REDCROSS to the number 90999. Donors may also call (800) 733-2767 or visit

TEAM WESTERN KENTUCKY TORNADO RELIEF FUND: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has launched a statewide relief fund to assist victims in that state. Donate at:

SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army is accepting donations for the victims of the tornado destruction at its website.

SAMARITAN’S PURSE: The Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse has already sent a semi-tractor trailer full of relief supplies to various parts of the Midwest affected by the tornadoes and has plans to send more and is accepting additional donations.

WORLD VISION: A Christian organization called World Vision is deploying volunteers from area churches to support those affected by the tornado outbreak. Money sent to World Vision will purchase supplies those churches will distribute, including blankets, heaters, food and more. Donations can be made to its website.

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