‘A coordinated effort:’ Local nonprofits donate items to tornado victims

Published 3:02 pm Monday, January 3, 2022

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Several local organizations worked together last month to make the holidays easier for Kentucky residents recovering from the aftermath of deadly tornadoes that caused widespread damage on Dec. 10-11.

Shelby Baptist Association Christmas Gift Shop Director Rebekah Parr said her organization’s involvement in a group effort to send donated toys to Kentucky before Christmas started with a phone call.

During the call, Parr learned a local Publix store had collected toys and was looking for an organization to accept them.

SBA provides Christmas gifts for parents to give their children annually through the Christmas Gift Shop ministry, but this year’s shop was nearly complete when Parr found out about the extra gifts.

“We were finishing up our Christmas assistance,” Parr said.

However, another opportunity to pass the toys along to families in need soon presented itself. Instead of storing the toys in SBA’s building for next year, Parr found out a man named Phillip Cook, a member of a Christian motorcycle ministry called F.A.I.T.H. Riders, was gathering a load of supplies to take to Kentucky.

Parr coordinated with Cook on adding the toys to the load. She also talked to Shelby Emergency Assistance Director Amanda Fowler, who said her organization was interested in contributing items.

Samaritan’s Purse also helped with the organization and distribution of toys.

“We also sent some blankets we had at the ministry center,” Parr said. “We just crammed the trailer full.”

Parr said the effort was an example of how well local groups collaborate to extend their reach to more people in need of assistance.

“The Lord brought everybody together to help in that way,” Parr said. “The nonprofits and organizations in Shelby County are so good with communicating with one another and helping one another meet the need. It’s just great that we have a coordinated effort for providing assistance. We can count on each other whenever something like this happens.”