LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Checking for mold, washing down walls, removing damaged drywall, and other chores can be challenging to Kentuckians still cleaning up damage caused by those devastating early May storms.
But to those persons with special needs, a helping hand may be a lifeline.
The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have activated a toll-free number, 877-634-8175, for citizens seeking volunteer help. The Helpline is operated by KYEM’s Recovery Branch.
"Once we get a call from a home or business owner, we determine what’s needed and send volunteers to help," said Jim Garrett, KYEM’s volunteer agency liaison. "The job can be as simple as moving some debris, checking for mold in the basement home of an elderly person who is unable to go downstairs, or helping cut out wet drywall in a home or business."
Garrett works closely with faith-based organizations that send out trained and experienced volunteers through local church groups. FEMA Volunteer Agency Liaisons (VALs) support the Commonwealth by referring clients, finding resources, and coordinating local voluntary agencies.
"We often meet citizens who need a helping hand at Disaster Recovery Centers and at Ready for the Rain events," said Amy Beville, VAL Specialist. "They are happy to have us provide Jim with their needs and a contact number so he can connect them with local volunteer helpers."
Disaster survivors who need volunteer assistance or have questions should call the KYEM Recovery Helpline at 877-634-8175 and leave a message.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.