UT Athletics gets surprise donation for Kentucky storm victims

Tennessee Athletics collecting supplies for Kentucky tornado victims
Volunteers load a truck to take supplies to Kentucky tornado victims
Volunteers load a truck to take supplies to Kentucky tornado victims(none)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 3:23 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Volunteers have stepped up to make a difference for tornado victims, collecting supplies for agencies managing tornado disaster relief efforts in Marshall County, Kentucky.

“They started brainstorming right away, what can we do, how can we make an impact and try to help?” University of Tennessee associate athletic director of communication Tom Satkowiak said the department and student-athletes started brainstorming the best way to help victims of December tornadoes. “This truck is going to head north and unload all of this stuff in Benton, Kentucky.”

Items sought by relief agencies include garbage bags, shelf food, cleaning supplies, sanitizing wipes, diapers, formula, paper products (plates, cups, utensils), shoes, new socks, coats and toiletries.

All donated items will be delivered directly to a staging warehouse in Benton, Kentucky, for need-based distribution to families in surrounding communities impacted by the recent tornadoes throughout the region.

Just after the drive opened Wednesday morning a 28-foot trailer unexpectedly arrived, packed full of supplies from strangers who heard about the collection from 500 miles away in Perry, Florida.

Chelsea Morgan and New Home Baptist Church put together their own collection for Kentucky storm victims and turned to UT to help get the items where they could do the most good.

“You just never know what a box of diapers can do for somebody who just lost their entire home or their family member,” said Morgan.

She would know. Coming from the Florida coastline, Morgan said she has been the victim of hurricane damage and her church has a program designed to help people in need, regardless of how far away.

“Our church has a disaster relief program that we believe strongly in and it’s not just about getting the supplies here but it’s about doing God’s work,” she said.

Volunteers from Tennessee Athletics and UT’s Jones Center for Leadership and Service will staff a donation drop-off site between the Tennessee softball and soccer stadiums in the campus River District off Neyland Drive from 10 a.m. ET – 6 p.m. ET on Jan. 5.

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