Emergency Appeal: Tornado Response in Kentucky and Surrounding States

December 23, 2021

Appeal Code: 628P


A series of devastating tornadoes ripped through Kentucky and other states in the U.S. midwest and south earlier this month. The death toll in Kentucky is now 76, which ties the state record for storm-related deaths. Another 14 people were killed in surrounding states.

The Kentucky VOAD, which stands for Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, has been meeting daily since the tornadoes. CWS staff have participated in every call to get the latest information from partners and offer our own supplies and assistance. As of Tuesday, CWS knows that the American Red Cross has identified 1,300 homes in Kentucky that were destroyed by the tornadoes. FEMA has declared 14 counties as disaster zones, and support will be needed in additional counties as well. Nearly 1,000 people are still living in shelters. More than 9,100 people have registered with FEMA for support.

CWS Response

CWS KITS AND BLANKETS. CWS has been responding to requests for CWS Blankets, Hygiene Kits, Emergency Cleanup Buckets and School Kits from organizations in affected areas. So far we have shipped out:

  • 1,010 CWS Blankets
  • 4,560 CWS Hygiene Kits
  • 930 CWS School Kits
  • 252 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets

These supplies are valued at more than $107,000 and have gone to support communities in Kentucky and Arkansas. We will continue to ship supplies if more requests come in.

UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN. CWS has initiated emergency programming to serve Unaccompanied Children waiting to receive post-release services in Mayfield and Bowling Green, Kentucky. These children entered the United States without their parents and are now living with a relative or sponsor following their release from government custody. They fled dangerous situations in their home countries, and many have experienced significant trauma. The children in Mayfield and Bowling Green have now faced a devastating natural disaster that can compound their past trauma. Unlike other children in their neighborhoods, these children and their households have little or no access to disaster relief.

We are currently working with 25 children and their families in these two areas. Our team is reaching out to each child and their family to assess post-tornado needs in addition to their usual suite of post-release services. CWS is creating custom action plans designed to assist each child in achieving their goals and feel safe and protected in their new community. However, this won’t be enough. We need additional funding to help mitigate the impact that the tornado has had on these children’s lives and respond to their basic needs. This could include financial support for emergency medical treatment or transportation, rental assistance, or help relocating if needed. We are also working to identify local organizations in the area that can offer optimized, sustainable support for these children over a longer period of time.


  • Comprehensive financial support for unaccompanied children in our post-release services program: $100,000
  • Shipping and restocking of CWS Kits and Blankets: $120,000
  • TOTAL: $220,000

How to Help

Donations can be made online or sent to Church World Service (P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515). Please designate your gifts to 2021 Tornado Response.

Explore cwskits.org to learn about assembling and shipping CWS Kits to stock our shelves so that we can respond when the call comes following this or a similar disaster in the future.