Regional nonprofits mobilize next step in tornado recovery in western Kentucky
A local organization serving Lyon, Crittenden, Caldwell and Livingston counties is trying to decide where donation money will go to help victims of December’s tornado outbreak. The Lake Barkley Partnership has raised $40,000 in private donations towards the cause.
The partnership, which has served the region for more than 10 years, works to drive economic development and sustainability by supporting local businesses and industries. Their tornado response, in addition to raising funds, also included collecting food, clothing and other necessities for tornado victims.
The four counties that make up Lake Barkley are home to nearly 40,000 people, many of whom were displaced from the tornado. Many of these people are still without permanent homes and are in need of financial assistance. Last week’s ice storm has also made relief efforts harder in the area.
Lake Barkley Partnership executive director Amanda Davenport says the recovery fund has not been disbursed yet and plans for its distribution are still being discussed.
Davenport says the community members and industry suppliers collaborated well by donating supplies and producing items. Several local businesses shutted down to help with the relief efforts.
Mostly small businesses were destroyed in the Lake Barkley area. Davenport says these smaller businesses are at a greater risk for financial hardship because they do not generate as much revenue as larger corporations in the area.
One of the advantages Lake Barkley has over larger, state-wide relief funds is more flexibility. Davenport says larger, statewide funds such as Team Western Kentucky’s Tornado Relief Fund serve larger efforts.
“They have very specific mandates on what they can fund and what they cannot,” Davenport says. “A lot of the state money collected from Beshear’s fund will go towards larger projects such as rebuilding homes, businesses and schools.
Compass 82, a New Jersey nonprofit has also raised money for Marshall and Lyon Counties. The organization has aided recovery efforts for past natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida in 2021 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, providing direct assistance to families affected by disasters. The group also provides victims with “disaster navigators” who give education and comfort to affected families and guide them towards recovery.
So far, plans on how these organizations will disperse the money from their recovery funds have not been made. Davenport says Lake Barkley will discuss plans for recovery with its board of directors and local businesses. Compass 82 is also yet to make a turn around with the money it has collected in donations.