Media giant Gray Television, Inc. partnered with The Salvation Army to raise more than $560,000 for relief efforts following the historic tornado outbreak that began on December 10 and left at least 90 dead, dozens injured and caused billions in damage across the Central Southern United States.
"In this season of giving, we are so thankful for the generosity of our viewers. Their heartfelt donations will go a long way to help so many of those working to recover and rebuild their lives," said Gray Executive Chairman and CEO Hilton H. Howell. "It is without hesitation that we partner with The Salvation Army as they always go above and beyond the call of duty when providing disaster relief efforts to survivors and rescue workers." To help 'Heal the Heartland,' Gray Television made a $100,000 donation to the relief campaign.
The Salvation Army allocates 100% of all disaster donations to the recovery efforts in affected communities.
The country’s largest owner of top-rated television stations began a fundraising media blitz across 113 of its local markets following the deadly storm system that spawned 62 tornadoes in 10 states. More than 30 tornadoes were reported across the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast and Midwest and may have set the record for the longest continuous tornado in American history. The most significant damage occurred in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky.
"The impact Gray Television will have on Western Kentucky as a result of their generosity during this difficult time for so many Kentuckians will have a lasting impact on communities recovering. As The Salvation Army begins to transition to longer-term services for survivors, the donations raised will aid in us working with families to find housing and provide life navigation services to survivors who will benefit from wrap-around services. We will continue to assist with basic needs like groceries, clothing, recovery supplies and other items to help families at their worst time," said Major Art Penhale, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Kentucky Tennessee Division.
The Salvation Army has expanded its operation further to meet immediate needs through feeding, sheltering, emotional and spiritual care, and other services for survivors and first responders. Trained emergency response teams provide meals, water, supplies, and care to the affected areas.
"We are continuing our major relief operation for those affected by the devastating tornadoes in the South and Midwest," said Emergency Disaster Services Director of The Salvation Army's Southern Territory, Jeff Jellets. "With the numerous assets being sent in from surrounding states, we are well prepared to provide ongoing support to those in need."
Salvation Army disaster response personnel are collaborating with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies and other partners to monitor ongoing impacts and adapt response efforts as needed.
Overall, The Salvation Army has already served:
With a presence in almost every ZIP code in the country, The Salvation Army was uniquely positioned to respond with a clear understanding of each impacted area’s needs.
"Right now, the best way to support response efforts is by making a financial contribution, so we ask our neighbors to continue to offer their support so we can serve those affected for as long as we are needed," said Jellets.
To make a financial gift to support ongoing disaster relief efforts:
"On behalf of the Kentucky and Tennessee Division of The Salvation Army, we are humbled and thankful to Gray Television. Working beside us will contribute to Western Kentucky building back," said Penhale.