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Georgians continue to gather donations and give to Kentucky following deadly tornadoes

Rome GA Cares is currently accepting donations and cash before hitting the road Jan. 3 to head to Mayfield, Kentucky.

ATLANTA — Friday night marks one week since an outbreak of tornadoes touched down in several states with Kentucky being the hardest hit. 

Ever since, across Georgia, from individuals to large organizations, efforts have been underway to gather supplies and cash to donate to those in need.

"I'm completely loaded down, every compartment inside the RV as well as the trailer and the four-wheeler," said Jim Garrett of Milton as he recorded video on his cell phone from a gas station on his way to Mayfield, Kentucky. 

Garrett headed to Mayfield earlier this week after seeing images of the destruction and praying for those in need with his church's bible study group. 

"I had the means and the time to do it and the equipment to do it, so I told my wife well 'I think I'm going to go up there and see what I can do,'" he explained.

Before Garrett could hit the road though, his wife shared his plan with a few friends. Within a matter of hours, cases of bottled water and diapers, bags of clothes, and other supplies covered the front steps of their home and the donations kept coming.

As he approached Mayfield and drove into town, Garrett started realizing the size of the need.

"It started 25 miles outside of Mayfield and it just kept getting worse and worse," he said. 

The town he added was barely recognizable. 

Garrett donated all of the items he hauled to Kentucky along with $5,000 to a local Mayfield organization distributing goods to those in need. Now, he hopes he can return to Kentucky to help further in the near future.

On Friday, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta filled a truck with thousands of pounds of supplies to take to Mayfield. 

"We are packing up food, cleaning supplies, everything they could possibly use," said Executive Director Lorna Loh.

Earlier this week, Loh talked with individuals from the YMCA in Mayfield and heard about the damage left behind by the tornadoes. 

"They shared with me that they were out of everything. There was no food, there was no water because all the stores are empty," he explained. "So without hesitation, I said to him 'Hey, how about if we bring a box truck, fill it up with supplies and food and bring it up there?' And he said 'I can't wish for anything better than that.'"

Loh added that YMCA members, staff, and community members quickly came together to fill a truck to help. In addition to the supplies, the YMCA is sending Christmas gifts for displaced children. The items will be distributed by the YMCA in Mayfield.

Also pitching in is an organization called Rome GA Cares. The non-profit was founded several years ago as an extension of the Floyd County Sheriff's Office. 

Rome GA Cares has previously collected truckloads of donations to help other states following hurricanes. Now, the focus is on assisting Kentucky. 

"We just give back to help other people that are struggling with natural disasters," said Floyd County Sheriff's Office Chaplain David Thornton.

"We just want to help. Our community is known for that. We feel like it is important, what we've been blessed with can we in return give it back to somebody else."

Thornton said local trucking companies are helping by lending trucks to haul goods to Kentucky on January 3. Thornton already believes they won't have any problem filling at least three semi-trucks with donations ranging from gas generators to blankets, sleeping bags, food, and backpacks filled with toys and items for children. 

On Facebook, the Floyd County Sheriff's Office posted a list of items that are needed, along with drop-off locations and directions on how checks and cash are being accepted. 


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