Grayson organizes to provide disaster relief 1

A tractor-trailer containing relief effort supplies collected by Potter’s Hope Ministries in Leitchfield is unloaded in an area affected by this past weekend’s weather events.

The devastation wrought by this past weekend’s tornado events has been felt across the nation, but as these communities work to pick up the pieces and rebuild, individuals and organizations, including many in Grayson County, have worked to provide aid and support.

Grayson County native and Executive Director of the Western Kentucky Red Cross chapter Misty Thomas said in a Facebook post on Sunday that monetary donations are “the easiest and most needed as these communities are overwhelmed with donations they are trying to sort through...”

According to Thomas, blood donations are much needed, as well.

The city of Clarkson will host its next blood drive at Clarkson City Hall and Community Center this coming Monday, Dec. 20 from 3 p.m.-8 p.m.

“The Clarkson community stands with our fellow Kentuckians who have been affected by the devastating tornadoes,” said city officials in a Facebook post. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to you in your time of need.”

To find another blood drive or to donate to the Red Cross’s relief efforts, visit redcross.org.

Officials with the Centre on Main coordinated a Mayfield Disaster Relief Drive this week, as well.

Grayson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director April Spalding said she, Leitchfield City Councilwoman Jessica Embry, and Centre staff will accept car seats, totes, solar lights, suitcases, and tote bags at the Centre from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through Tuesday, Dec. 21, after which time, these items will be delivered to those in need. The Centre will not accept clothing or water at this time.

The Grayson County Cooperative Extension Service will collect items for recovery and response teams through Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 12 p.m. also.

Items including prepackaged snacks (Pop-Tarts, granola bars, sandwich crackers, etc.), cleaning supplies (wipes, sprays, paper towels, hand soaps, hand sanitizers, etc.), and bottled water may be dropped off at the Extension Office (located at 64 Quarry Rd. in Leitchfield) Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. CST and from 8:30 a.m. Wednesday until the 12 p.m. deadline.

Those who donate are asked to call the Extension Office at 270-259-3492 upon arrival and pull around to the back of the building.

In addition to the many first responders and civic groups organizing relief efforts, the youth of Grayson County has stepped up as well, as Grayson County Schools (GCS) reported many of its student organizations have begun drives for supplies and toys.

“There are so many initiatives throughout the district, many student-led, many collaborative,” district officials said. “For all areas, monetary assistance and/or gift cards are especially appreciated at this time as a complete picture of needs is assessed in each community. Our support will continue throughout the coming weeks as these communities work to get back on their feet, and school districts strive to meet the needs of their students and families as they hopefully return to school in January.”

Gift cards can include Visa cards or cards for building and other supplies such as Lowes or Home Depot, grocery, restaurants, and gas. These can be dropped off at any school or the Grayson County Board of Education until Monday.

Grayson County High School FCCLA and FFA collected items throughout the week and distributed them to needed locations. The FCCLA/FCS program also planned to distribute hot chocolate/coffee and snacks to crews helping with cleanup and recovery.

In addition, a group of GCHS seniors took donations in the lunchroom Wednesday and Thursday to give to those in need in Muhlenberg County. Led by Sophia Elmore and Madelynn Henning, the deadline for items to be collected was Friday, and they were to be taken to Bremen, Kentucky the following day. Items collected included garbage bags and bottled water, nonperishables, toiletries, batteries, blankets, flashlights, gloves and hats, first aid items, sleeping bags and pillows, etc.

Donations were also accepted during Friday’s boys basketball game, and the donations were to be distributed between Mayfield and Muhlenberg County students. Students who donated items were given free admission to the game.

Grayson County Middle School hosted a student-initiated toy drive through Friday, as well. This project, initiated by several 8th grade students, accepted new, boxed toys for children in areas affected, primarily Mayfield.

And teacher Gwen Franich worked with Potter’s Hope Ministries in Leitchfield to hold a supply/card drive with a Tuesday deadline. H.W. Wilkey Elementary School also partnered with Potter’s Hope to collect diapers, wipes, and non-perishable food items.

Thanks to donations received, the church filled a tractor-trailer with items such as bottled water, new blankets/gloves/hats, diapers, gas cards, etc., and transported them to Western Kentucky to help with some of the smaller/poorer communities affected. The church planned to send at least one more truck with supplies later in the week.

Clarkson Elementary School sponsored a student penny/coin drive to donate to the American Red Cross, and Lawler and Caneyville elementary schools accepted gift cards from staff and/or students.

“Our community shows its strength through connection — between ourselves and so very often through sharing with others — whether in good times or those such as the devastation of last weekend,” said GCS Superintendent Doug Robinson. “We are so proud of our school leadership, staff, and students throughout the district who have developed these wonderful projects to help our western neighbors and families. Their care will positively benefit those who’ve been affected by this devastating event, as well as each individual who shared a part of themselves during this time.”

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