West Virginia University is stepping up to support residents affected by flooding in eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia with the relaunch of Dollars for Disaster, a campus-wide disaster response effort organized through the Center for Community Engagement.
“WVU is ready and willing to pull together resources to support local communities that are in need at any moment,” Kristi Wood-Turner, assistant dean for community engagement and director of the Center for Community Engagement, said.
“Often, we have fellow Mountaineers that are either from affected areas or know someone who is and we want to make sure we are supporting them.”
More than a foot of rain fell in parts of eastern Kentucky beginning on July 27, the same day portions of southwestern Virginia began to see significant rainfall. Flash flooding has also recently affected Mingo County.
Dollars for Disaster connects those who want to help directly with volunteer opportunities in the flooded regions and with reputable flood relief funds. One of the options for supporting affected WVU students is the Kenneth D. and Carolyn T. Gray Student Emergency Fund.
“There are ways to connect to folks working on the ground in Kentucky, ways to support local drives and always a need for monetary support,” Wood-Turner said. “We are open to suggestions about other ways to help.”
A group of WVU students created Dollars for Disaster in 2005 after the tsunami in Indonesia. Since then, it has been used on an as-needed basis, including in the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake and flooding in 2016 in central and southeastern West Virginia.
With a link to WVU Extension, the work of the WVU Center for Community Engagement focuses on supporting faculty, staff and students in collaborations with external partners to address needs while advancing the University’s land grant mission.