Efforts under way to collect donations for tornado victims

bfortune@herald-leader.comMarch 5, 2012 

Drop-off sites are set up throughout Central Kentucky for people who want to donate items needed in communities devastated by Friday's tornadoes.

Among them is the Christian Appalachian Project's 53-foot trailer in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Lexington's Hamburg area this week.

Early Monday afternoon, the Rev. Tim Cooper pulled his SUV up beside the trailer. "We've got relief supplies," Cooper said to Walter Hurley, a volunteer who rushed over to help unload the vehicle.

Members of Momentum Christian Church responded to CAP's call for donations by collecting 1,000 bottles of water, hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies.

"This is what people brought to church Sunday morning on 12 hours' notice," Cooper said. "We're still actively collecting. We'll bring another load later this week."

"Bless you, bless you," said Hurley, a volunteer with Catholic Action Center and Community Inn who is working with CAP. "It's amazing something so horrendous happens and see the good coming out of it."

The trailer will be in the parking lot from noon to 7 p.m. through Saturday, and next week if needed, said Candace Sword, CAP's spokeswoman.

CAP will take relief items to its warehouse on Palumbo Drive to sort and organize. Then the goods will be sent to distribution points in Corbin and Hager Hill in Johnson County.

"We are aware there are many small communities that were hit hard, not just the ones we see on television. But before we do anything, we will make phone calls to make sure that we take what communities need," Sword said.

Also, the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting contributions of all amounts, spokesman Winn Stephens said Monday.

Since Friday night, the chapter has received a $10,000 gift from University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and his wife, Ellen; $10,000 from the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels; and $15,000 from Rite Aid drugstores, Stevens said.

The Red Cross guarantees that the money will go to victims of Friday's storms.

"We cannot guarantee that somebody's $10 donation will go to a particular town, even if they request it," Stevens said. "But all the money will stay in Kentucky."

The Fayette County unit of the Salvation Army also is accepting donations of money and needed items, including bottled water, food that doesn't require refrigeration or cooking, and cleaning supplies, said Major Debra Ashcraft, associate coordinator for Central Kentucky services.

On Sunday, two mobile Salvation Army kitchens were in West Liberty, one from Ashland, the other from Boyle County, she said.

Beverly Fortune: (859) 231-3251. Twitter: @BFortune2010.

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