Volunteers collecting much-needed supplies for communities that lost everything


TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL/ABC Tri-Cities) – Emergency crews from our region are among those getting a first hand look, Wednesday, at the devastation left behind.

The record-breaking stretch of tornadoes slammed parts of the midwest and central plains.

Local disaster workers from the Tri-Cities are already on the ground to help provide food, clothing and supplies to those in need.

Others have stepped up to collect much-needed supplies for communities that lost everything.

Right now, Red Cross volunteers are headed to Missouri to help with tornado relief.

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport is also working to help by collecting donations for Ohio victims.

For one Tri-Cities resident, the devastation hits close at home.

It is a photo resonating among young community members.

“They really wanted to put something together,” CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport, Lisa Beilharz [bell-harz] explained.

Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport have taken it upon themselves to give back to strangers in need, after tornadoes destroyed their homes.

“They really need stuff right now,” volunteer Rylei B. said. “The more people that we have to help out, the more stuff that they’ll be able to get quicker.”

Time is of the essence.

“They have no power. They have no water. We need to get water to them as quickly as we can,” Beilharz said.

A native of Dayton, Beilharz said it is humbling to see young members give back without hesitation.

Beilharz said, “I’ve got family members up there who have been severely effected by the tornadoes. Many friends, and there’s just so many communities.”

They are hoping to bring relief to those whose livelihoods were stripped away with the blink of an eye.

“We are accepting toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, brushes, deodorant, diapers,” Rylei explained.

“There’s a great need for tarps and plywood, because they need to do a lot of immediate damage control,” Beilharz added.

Red Cross volunteers from Northeast Tennessee are also on the way to help.

Executive director for the Northeast Tennessee American Red Cross, Kalen Collins said, “We have six volunteers who have deployed, from the Tennessee region. Two of those being from the northeast Tennessee chapter.”

Collins said the volunteers have been deployed to Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. “We’ve setup shelters, we’ve distributed meals, some cleaning kits,” Collins said.

The Red Cross volunteers are expected to be in the midwest for two weeks.

If you would like to send monetary donations to the Red Cross, text “Red Cross” to 90-999. Each text will charge you $10.

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kingsport will continue to collect items during the emergency supplies drive from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Toiletries and clothing items must be new and in their original packaging.

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