TV stations, others accept donations Thursday for tornado victims

Firefighters in Tuscaloosa, Ala., searched tornado debris  Wednesday after a cadaver dog indicated it smelled human remains.
Firefighters in Tuscaloosa, Ala., searched tornado debris Wednesday after a cadaver dog indicated it smelled human remains. AP

Lexington's four commercial television stations will join forces Thursday to help the American Red Cross in a telephone campaign to raise money for victims of recent storms, tornadoes and flooding in Kentucky and other states.

WLEX-TV (Channel 18), WTVQ-TV (Channel 36); WKYT-TV (Channel 27) and WDKY Fox (Channel 56) will promote Southern Storm Relief during newscasts and other programming, and air updates from the Red Cross offices on Newtown Pike.

During the drive, which will run from noon to 7 p.m., people may call the Red Cross at (859) 977-5366 and make a donation.

The Red Cross will provide phone banks and other support, and will use the money raised to help storm victims in the affected states, said Winn Stephens, relief coordinator with the Red Cross in Lexington.

"Originally, there was a lot of focus on Alabama because that's where the most dramatic news was," Stephens said. "But we have shelters open in Western Kentucky right now, and a couple of communities in Livingston County are being evacuated.

"We wanted to make sure folks had an outlet to give to all of the victims of this recent string of deadly storms."

Doug Hogan, news director at WTVQ, said planning for the fund-raiser started earlier this week. Lexington stations began announcing the drive Tuesday night and Wednesday.

"We thought it would be nice if all the stations in town came together to make a difference," Hogan said. "We want people to know the drive is going on, and know they can pick up the phone to make a donation to help people trying to recover from the storms. Helping storm victims is the only goal."

Several other agencies and groups also are helping storm victims.

■ The Salvation Army is accepting donations for storm relief, said Lt. Anita Albert of the Salvation Army in Lexington. To donate, you may mail a check to the Salvation Army, 736 West Main Street, Lexington, Ky. 40508, attention tornado relief, or mail donations to Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 339, Atlanta, Ga. 30384; or call 1-800-725-2769.

■ Officials at the Kentucky Baptist Convention are accepting donations. They may be made at or by writing Kentucky Baptist Convention, P.O. Box 43433, Louisville, Ky. 40253, Attention: Disaster Relief. You can specify on your check where you would like your donation to go.

■ Bourbon n' Toulouse, 829 Euclid Avenue, will donate 20 percent of its sales from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to the Red Cross to assist tornado victims in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

University of Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips is providing a football and other items to be raffled at the restaurant as part of the fund-raising effort. Former UK basketball star Josh Harrellson will be at the restaurant at noon Friday to sign limited-edition posters, with $5 from each poster going to the Red Cross.

Bourbon n' Toulouse also is accepting donations of clothes, shoes, toiletries, non-perishable food and other items for storm victims in Tuscaloosa. Margaret Ann Morris, a UK student from Tuscaloosa, hopes to load a truck with those supplies and drive them to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

■ The Christian Appalachian Project was sending 120 disaster-relief volunteers to Marshall County, Ala., for two weeks starting Tuesday.

■ The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels announced it would donate $10,000 to the relief effort for tornado victims. The money will be distributed through the Salvation Army.

■ PODS and Clear Channel Radio in Lexington teamed up to accept donations of clothing, shoes, non-perishable food, toiletries and baby supplies. PODS contributed three storage containers, which it was to transport to Tuscaloosa.