Texas Organizations, Disaster Aid Ready to Assist in Multi-State Storm Devastation

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Help from North Texas is on the way after a catastrophic series of tornadoes ripped through multiple states in the central and southern parts of the U.S.

One tornado, being called the "Quad-State Tornado" ripped across four states in four hours: Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky. More than 70 people in Kentucky are feared dead, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. In Illinois, at least six people were killed Friday when a portion of an Amazon building collapsed in downstate Edwardsville during a severe weather outbreak.

For Roberta Taylor of Fort Worth, the storms hit home as she has family in Kentucky.

“It was very hard on me at first, because I didn’t know how my family was doing…if they’ve lost life, how they’ve been impacted,” Taylor said. “So when I was finally able to get in touch with my sister and she kind of talked me through some of the things that were going on there…just knowing they were about 15 minutes or so, 20 minutes away from major destruction and devastation, that made me feel a whole lot better knowing some of them were without power but for the most part, everyone is okay.”

Taylor is a partner coordinator for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian aid organization. Their North Texas warehouse is located in Grand Prairie, where Taylor said at least three truckloads will ship supplies to Kentucky on Monday.

“We’re sending mud buckets, which are clean-up kits basically cleaning up after the tornado…the water and such that has gotten into their homes,” she said. “We’re sending bleach. We’re sending hand sanitizer, wipes, food, different things like that.”

World Vision also plans to send supplies from Chicago on Sunday and West Virginia on Monday as well.

Rand Jenkins, Director of Ministry Advancement for Texas Baptist Men, said they are also ready to answer the call for help.

“What we’re trying to figure out is the best place and the way for TBM volunteers to help out,” Rand said. “There’s been such a large area of disaster and so many needs coming out of this. What we’re expecting the needs are the chainsaw units, feeding, temporary roof and the shower and laundry units to go in as well.”

Texas Baptist Men has about 5,000 volunteers across the state, according to Jenkins. The organization has been dedicated to disaster relief since 1967. Jenkins said they have been in contact with their partners in the regions heavily impacted by the storms, though there is not a definitive answer on whether their volunteers will be deployed.

“We keep all of the equipment ready to go," he said. "It’s filled up. The tires are good shape and our volunteers have already been texting, ‘Hey I’m ready. I’m free to go.’ So, there’s some eagerness to go and help. It’s hard work but when you’re going out and you’re spreading love, it makes that work a whole lot easier to do.”

On Saturday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he approved the activation of ten Texas A&M Task Force 1 personnel to deploy the Central Incident Support Team cache, which is part of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue System.

"The State of Texas stands ready to assist our friends in Kentucky as they continue their response and recovery efforts in the wake of deadly tornadoes that shook the western portion of their state overnight," a statement from Gov. Abbott reads. "Thank you to the members of Texas A&M Task Force 1 who are making their way to Western Kentucky to help those in need. I ask all Texans to join Cecilia and me in praying for those affected by these horrific tornadoes."

Ahead of the Christmas holiday, Taylor said World Vision also plans to send toys for children who may been impacted by the storms.

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