DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The nation watched in horror as tornadoes tore through Kentucky and surrounding states last weekend but a local effort to send help has grown from a palette of water to a full-blown supply mission.
The tornadoes last weekend caused historic devastation, leaving 98 dead and thousands homeless right before the holidays. Nearly 900 miles from where the tornadoes touched down, one business in Luzerne County packed up truckloads of supplies for victims.
Sunday morning, Pulverman, a metal fabrication company in Dallas, collected supplies for victims of the December 10th tornadoes. Human Resources manager Wally Pilger says employees approached him with the idea after seeing the devastation on the news.
“Their initial idea was like, ‘hey Wally what do you think, can we donate a palette of water?’ and given what was going on, I thought that was the least we could do,” Pilger said.
The idea evolved into a community effort to collect essentials for those who lost everything in the devastating storms. Once Pilger put the word out, he was blown away by the support.
“Over the last couple days, the community has been very strongly supporting what’s going on, they’ve been dropping things off. Even though our ideal collection time was 9 to 2 today, they came out early,” Pilger said.
“Doing the right thing,” volunteer Dave Wylie said.
Volunteers helped fill multiple trucks full of supplies: water, non-perishable food, toilettries, paper products, baby items, tarps, and new clothes and Christmas toys, as well as a truck full of dog and cat food.
“We have people coming from all over the place, and we’re almost overwhelmed with all the stuff we’re getting here,” volunteer Matthew Makara said.
The donated supplies are being packed into trucks and will be driven to Mayfield-Graves County Fairgrounds in Mayfield, Kentucky, where supplies are being distributed to tornado victims.
“They have nothing. And the fact that we’re able to what we’re doing means so much to them. Outside, as cold as it is, but the heart is warm today,” Pilger said.
Another way people can help is with monetary donations. Kentucky’s United Way network says 100 percent of donated funds will go directly to recovery efforts.
The American Red Cross is also responding to the hardest-hit areas. They’re collecting monetary donations for widespread Kentucky recovery efforts.