At the end of July, heavy rains in eastern Kentucky led to catastrophic flooding in the region. Nearly a foot of rain fell in just 48 hours, leading to a disaster that has claimed the lives of 37 people so far. Two weeks later, entire communities remain cut off and families are struggling to recover and rebuild.
In her capacity as a Save the Children ambassador and trustee, actress Jennifer Garner traveled to the region to help with emergency relief. "Hundreds of children and families have lost everything they have. I spoke with families who are unsure of where they’re going to live, and children who don’t know when they’ll be getting back to school. I visited an elementary school that was 8 feet under water for three days," Garner said in a statement.
Garner grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, just 200 miles away from the disaster. As she toured a destroyed elementary school with the Today show, she recalled, "my little elementary school library totally shaped my life. I wanted to be a school librarian, I wanted to work in a library space just like this." She took a break from filming to bear witness to the disaster, according to Today.
"Save the Children is dedicated to helping eastern Kentucky kids and families recover from this devastating disaster, and getting children back to school and learning safely," Garner said in a release. "We are working to rebuild education and feeding programs, and helping teachers start their classrooms all over again. We’re getting cash in the hands of families, so they can decide what they need in order to start over."
Greta Wetzel, head of Save the Children’s emergency response team in eastern Kentucky, shared that the organization is "gearing up with supplies to support back-to-school efforts at school districts that have seen schools inundated with floodwaters, or completely destroyed."
Wetzel continued, "Disasters can also steal children’s sense of security, affect their health, behavior and ability to learn, and Save the Children is committed to working with schools and communities to ensure kids get the social and emotional support they need in the aftermath of this tragic flooding."
President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are expected to travel to the region today.
To help victims of the Kentucky flood, you can donate to Save the Children’s Eastern Kentucky Flood Crisis Fund, Kentucky state's Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund, or the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky's fund. Head here for a longer list of Appalachian Flood Support Resources, including local donation drop-off locations and shelter areas.
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