In the aftermath of last weekend’s deadly tornado outbreak that destroyed the town of Mayfield, Ky., including American Legion Post 26, Legion Family across the country are collecting donations to help.
They’re also helping closer by. Post 82 in Campbellsville, Ky., donated $1,250 to the Department of Kentucky’s relief fund aimed at helping those impacted by the tornado. Department Adjutant Pat Keefe said donations are being collected from anyone who wishes to provide assistance. Checks can be sent to the Kentucky American Legion Tornado Relief Fund, P.O. Box 2123, Louisville, KY 40201, and donors can indicate on the memo line the specific community they want their donation to be directed to.
The tornado stayed on the ground for at least 128 miles, while other tornadoes touched down in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. The storms killed an estimated 74 people in Kentucky; six in Illinois, including two veterans who died in the collapse of an Amazon warehouse; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas; and two in Missouri.
Here are some of the Legion Family’s relief efforts across the country:
· In Winston County, Whitehead Post 33 is helping collect donations of relief items including tarps, pre-mixed chainsaw fuel, diapers, canned foods, personal hygiene products, pet food, sleeping bags, towels, washcloths, can openers, batteries, flashlights and more. A 35-foot box trailer containing the donations is scheduled to leave Haleyville, Ala., on Dec. 19 for Mayfield. Donations can be made at the trailer at Haleyville City Hall, 911 21st St., from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· In Millbrook, Post 133, 4980 Main St., is collecting donations including coats, hats, scarves, blankets and gloves.
In Burrillville, members of Berard Desjarlais American Legion Post 88, 111 Chapel St., began collecting donations on Tuesday. In an interview with WJAR-TV, Post Commander Ray Trinque urged the local community to “Donate, donate, donate. We will take practically anything.”
Trinque also told WJAR that they plan to take an American flag to replace one that Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan was shown pulling from the rubble.
“And we’re taking a Rhode Island state flag and everyone who donates were encouraging them to sign the state flag and then we’re going to present it when we get there,” Trinque told the TV station.
Department of Texas Commander Bret Watson reached out via Facebook to encourage Legion Family in his state to donate supplies.
“They are needing water, food, coats, clothes, personal hygiene products and toys, Christmas items. They have lost everything they had,” Watson wrote.
Donations will be collected after 4:30 p.m. Friday at Post 163, 200 Cartwright Park Road, Weatherford, Texas, Watston wrote.
“The American Legion Department of Texas will be hauling all items to Kentucky next week. Let’s help those in need at this time,” he added.
If your post or department is collecting donations for tornado relief, please let us know so we can share the Legion Family's charitable efforts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with details.
National Emergency Fund
The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund (NEF) is available to help American Legion members and posts, and Sons of The American Legion members, who have been impacted by natural disasters.
The NEF provides up to $3,000 for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members with an active membership who have been displaced due to damages to their primary residence, and up to $10,000 for posts that have been damaged by a natural disaster and whose programs and activities within the community are impacted.
Apply for an NEF grant by visiting legion.org/emergency/apply.
Since Jan. 1, 2021, the NEF has provided more than $150,444 in grants to 71 American Legion and Sons members, and five American Legion posts. The program began in 1969 as a one-time effort in the wake of Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Gulf Coast – primarily Mississippi, and parts of Louisiana and Alabama. NEF was resurrected in 1989 when Hurricane Hugo pummeled the Carolinas and Puerto Rico, and since then has provided more than $9 million in direct financial assistance to American Legion and Sons members, and American Legion posts.
NEF relies on donations to help Legionnaires, posts and Sons recover from disaster. One hundred percent of donations to the NEF directly help veterans and their families recover from natural disasters.
To donate to the NEF, click here.
Temporary Financial Assistance
The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) helps families in need meet the cost of shelter, food, utilities, clothing, and health expenses. For example, during a natural disaster where a family has lost a home or it's been severely damaged, TFA can help cover the cost of temporary housing.
TFA grants are available to minor children of active-duty servicemembers or American Legion members. No child can be considered eligible until a complete investigation is conducted at the post or department level, a legitimate family need is determined, and all other available assistance resources have been utilized or exhausted.
For TFA information on eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit legion.org/financialassistance.
TFA grants are made possible through The American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. Donate here.
Operation Comfort Warriors
Operation Comfort Warrior is a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill veterans. OCW grants often purchase items that are not normally covered by the government.
To apply for a grant, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a donation, visit here.