By now our readers know all too well about the horrific tornadoes which devastated communities in Kentucky yesterday morning. We all want to help, so today let’s consider a few options.

(1) Consider reading this article first in order to best target your intentions: Why giving cash, not clothing, is usually best after disasters, by Julia Brooks (The Conversation).

In-kind donations of items such as food, clothing, toiletries and diapers are often the last thing that is needed in disaster-affected areas. Delivering things that people need on the ground simply doesn’t help disaster-struck communities as much as giving them – and relief organizations – money to buy what they need. What’s more, truckloads of blue jeans and cases of Lunchables can actually interfere with official relief efforts.

A personal friend with experience in these efforts made an important point: “Be mindful which organization you use to transfer funds. Those with high G&A costs (read: way overpaid CEO/management) only transfer 50-65% of every dollar donated. Research to ensure 100% of your donation goes to family(ies) who need it.”

(2) Peruse this checklist assembled by Jasmine Demers at WFPL. It is being regularly updated: Here’s how you can help tornado victims. These options include portals for in-kind donations of supplies; to reiterate, be savvy about your choices and give what is needed by the people who know.

(3) Note that our friends at The LEE Initiative are working to provide meals.

Here’s the text:

We are saddened to hear about the devastation from the tornadoes last night in Western KY. We are quickly working with several organizations to provide immediate relief to those in need of help. We have pledged $15K to relief efforts and are raising funds to bring relief meals and water to those affected in Kentucky and also to support the efforts of Giving Kitchen which provides relief income to people in the restaurant industry whose incomes have been affected by this tragedy. If you’re able to, please donate via and select “Western KY Disaster Relief Fund” Thank you.

Cover photo credit: Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, via the Courier Journal.