Flooding caused by historic rainfall this week in several Eastern Kentucky counties has been a top story in national news for the last couple of days. Towns such as Hindman, Hazard and Whitesburg have been devastated by rising water and mudslides that overtook homes, school buildings and businesses.
I received emails from a few friends in other states who know very little about Kentucky’s geography. Not understanding that I live in the other end of the state where we’ve been praying for rain, they wanted to know if I was OK. I’m sure some of you have also heard from friends who wanted to check in and make sure you were safe. It’s odd to feel simultaneously so far from the flooding but so close to sorrow.
As of Sunday morning, Gov. Andy Beshear had confirmed 26 deaths in the flooding. Four of the victims were children. I can’t imagine the heartbreak. Officials are warning that they expect to find more people who died.
Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
The stories are overwhelming, but there are ways to help our fellow Kentuckians. I just made a donation to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund. It is similar to the fund that was created to help Western Kentuckians after tornadoes ravaged our communities last year.
Hindman Settlement School
Another way to help people in Eastern Kentucky is by making a contribution to the Hindman Settlement School, a nationally recognized institution that has served the region for 120 years. The school sustained heavy damages in the flooding, but this weekend it was already distributing food, water and cleaning supplies to its neighbors.
There’s also Appalshop. Established more than 50 years ago as a film workshop, it tells authentic stories of Appalachia and challenges stereotypes of the region. The Whitesburg-based organization is sharing information about urgent needs in communities that experienced flooding.
These are just a few ideas about how to reach out and help people who have lost so much. I hope they experience the same kind of help and caring that we witnessed in Western Kentucky after the tornadoes.