There is no farm value more appreciated than that of chipping in to help out the people that nature has whacked.
Gov. Sam Brownback completed a tour of the Oaklawn neighborhood in south Wichita on Thursday and issued a plea to all Kansans to help those whose lives were torn apart by last Saturday night's tornadoes and related storms and to volunteer to help with clean-up.
As always when storms affect a metropolitan area, the number of people in need is much greater in the urban area, but in this storm many farm families also suffered losses and their needs attract less attention.
“While it could have been much worse in Kansas, the devastation caused by these storms has still caused an acute human need for help,” said Brownback. “In times of trouble, Kansans have always looked out for their neighbors. I encourage all Kansans to do what they can to help those faced with rebuilding their homes and lives – a small donation or simply just your time to assist with cleaning up will go a long way in making a difference.”
The United Way has set up a phone line to facilitate donations to storm victims. Calling 2-1-1 from any phone will allow people to donate money, goods, service or volunteer to help. Contributions can also be made by going online to https://give.liveunited.org/page/contribute/contribution1 or at www.ksready.gov and clicking on the “Donate to Kansas disaster relief” link.
“The weekend’s tornado caused destruction in the Wichita area,” Mayor Carl Brewer said. “Fortunately, many of us were spared but many others were victims and are in need of basic services and other assistance. I want to encourage Wichitans to volunteer in the cleanup and help in other ways that we can.”
“Unfortunately, some of our neighbors who were affected by the tornado lost their homes and personal belongings,” said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Tim Norton. “Our donations can help them begin to put their lives back in order by replacing basic household items and clothing, so they can recover from this tragic event.”
Brownback signed a declaration of a State of Disaster Emergency for 39 counties affected by the storms, which generated tornadoes in addition to heavy rain, lightning, high winds and large hail.
Named in the declaration are many of the primarily farm counties neighboring Wichita where the most monetary damaged occurred. On the list are Barber, Barton, Butler, Chase, Clay, Comanche, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Geary, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kingman, Kiowa, Lincoln, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Marshall, Mitchell, Morris, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, Stafford, Sumner, Smith and Wabaunsee Counties.
The declaration activates the disaster response and recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan to expedite state assistance to counties based on the amount of damages sustained and the counties’ ability to respond with the resources they have available.
In farm country, municipal and county budgets offer less help than is available in urban areas.