How to Help Those Affected by Tornadoes in Kentucky and Surrounding States

More than 70 people have died and recovery efforts could take years as residents and relief workers begin to pick up the pieces after more than 30 tornadoes and storms devastated parts of Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri on Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said in a new briefing Monday that the death toll, currently at 74, is expected to grow, with victims currently ranging in age from 5 months old to 86 years. Approximately 26,000 customers in Kentucky are still without power as of Monday at 3pm CT, according to Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett.

Before and after satellite images illustrate the horrific extent of the devastation.

President Biden has declared a major disaster in Kentucky and ordered federal aid to support response and recovery efforts and will visit Kentucky on Wednesday. The needs in affected communities are vast and donating funds is the best way to help support relief efforts. Here’s how you can help those affected by the tornadoes.

Donate to Relief Funds:

  • American Red Cross: The Red Cross and partners are mobilized around the clock across multiple states to help those in need and ensure those affected have shelter, food, critical relief supplies, emotional support and comfort.
  • Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund: Governor Beshear has established a relief fund to assist those impacted by the tornados and the severe weather system on December 11, 2021.
  • CARE: Food, water, and shelter are the most immediate needs for Kentucky families whose homes were destroyed. CARE is working with a local community-based partner in Louisville to get families food, water, and emergency cash vouchers.
  • Global Giving: All donations to Global Giving’s Midwest US Tornado Relief Fund will support relief and recovery efforts in tornado-impacted communities in the South and Midwest.
  • United Way of Western Kentucky: Kentucky’s United Way network is working with emergency management, disaster partners and local communities to support services for impacted families.
  • Salvation Army: A Salvation Army Western KY Disaster Relief Fundraiser has been set up on Facebook. You can also donate to support Salvation Army’s relief efforts at
  • Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland: The Kentucky branch of Feeding America will provide ready-to-eat bags of food that require no cooking to those without power and food.
  • GoFundMe: Donate to verified tornado relief fundraisers for affected communities.
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Donate Blood:

The American Red Cross is in touch with hospital partners and is prepared to provide additional blood products as needed. Blood donations are needed each day to respond to emergencies. Find a blood drive location near you.

Red Cross phlebotomist Nikia Davis works with donor Elaine Pelingon. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

Donate Toys to Kentucky Children:

With Christmas less than two weeks away, Kentucky First Lady Britainy Beshear has organized a Western Kentucky Toy Drive to collect new, unwrapped toys, games, books and technology as well as $25 Visa and MasterCard gift cards for children, ages infant through teen, affected by the disaster.

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Brooke Geiger McDonald Better Disney

Brooke Geiger McDonald is the national content director for Make It Better Media Group. A Chicago native, she has worked for publications like O, The Oprah Magazine and SHAPE Magazine. She covers theme parks extensively and her work has appeared in Parents, TravelPulse, Attractions Magazine, MSN, Disney Food Blog, and more. Her favorite nonprofits to support include The Walt Disney Birthplace in Chicago and Give Kids the World Village, which provides week-long, cost-free wish vacations to critically ill children and their families from around the world who want to visit Central Florida. Follow her on Instagram @brookegmcdonald and Twitter @BrookeGMcDonald.

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