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Six ways you can help victims of the deadly tornadoes that swept through the central U.S.

Severe storms and tornadoes tore through multiple states last week, devastating communities and killing dozens of people. 

As of Saturday, at least 78 people were confirmed dead in Kentucky, including multiple children, and many are still unaccounted for. Governor Andy Beshear said the death toll in the state "could end up exceeding 100."

"This is likely to be the most severe tornado outbreak in our state's history," Beshear said last weekend. 

Midwest Tornadoes
People survey damage from a tornado is seen in Mayfield, Ky., on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. Tornadoes and severe weather caused catastrophic damage across multiple states late Friday, killing several people overnight. Mark Humphrey / AP

In Illinois, six people were killed when the storms toppled an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville. Five people died in Tennessee, two others in Arkansas and two more in Missouri as a result of the catastrophic storms. The total death toll as of Saturday was 93. 

Homes were leveled and many are still without power. As federal, state and local teams work towards recovery efforts and cleanup, here are six ways you can help the victims of the deadly storms:

1. The Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund

Governor Beshear on Saturday established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to aid those affected by Friday's severe weather. 

The fund is asking for monetary donations that will be dedicated to "on-the-ground efforts going on right now, and the relief efforts that these families are going to need to rebuild," the governor said Saturday. 

2. Verified online fundraisers

GoFundMe has organized a list of verified fundraisers on its platforms that seek to help different impacted communities throughout the country. Verified fundraisers include ones organizing funds for feeding first responders and necessities for families. 

"People across the country are asking for help to get back on their feet or to support community relief efforts," GoFundMe wrote. "Donate to verified tornado outbreak fundraisers today to help those in need rebuild and recover."

According to GoFundMe, fundraisers are verified once its Trust and Safety team identifies the organizer, who they are raising the funds for, their relationship to the recipient of the funds and how the funds will be used. The company guarantees that it will work with donors to determine if a campaign is fraudulent, which it said is "rare."

"After news reports of a crisis, GoFundMe mobilizes a crisis team that immediately starts monitoring our site for any fundraisers that are created to help the individuals, families, and communities affected," the company wrote. "Our goal is simple: protect your generosity and ensure that every dollar donated on our platform reaches the right place."

3. American Red Cross

The American Red Cross said its teams are helping those in impacted states find food, supplies, shelter and emotional support. The organization said it has already dispatched crews to assess damage and determine what additional help is needed. 

The organization is requesting both blood donors and monetary donations.

"Our thoughts are with everyone whose lives were changed forever by the horrific and deadly tornadoes that touched down overnight across the center of the country," the organization said

4. CARE International

Nonprofit organization CARE International is working with local community-based partners in Louisville, Kentucky, to provide resources to families impacted in the state. The group is asking for monetary donations and said all funds go directly towards providing families in need of food, water, shelter and cash assistance.

On Saturday, the organization will be hosting a supply drive event in collaboration with local nonprofit Change Today, Change Tomorrow in Louisville. The organization is asking for supplies including winter clothes, body wipes, women's sanitary napkins, hand sanitizer and non-perishable food items that will all be shipped to Mayfield. 

5. Mercy Chefs

The Virginia-based disaster relief organization Mercy Chefs has deployed teams to Mayfield in the wake of the deadly tornadoes to prepare meals for victims, volunteers and first responders. The organization is providing meals from His House Ministries located at 1250 KY-303 in Mayfield.

"Our team is heartbroken over this tremendous loss of life and devastation that has affected so many communities," the organization's founder and CEO Gary LeBlanc said in a statement. "In years of doing disaster relief work, the destruction never becomes any less shocking. Our hope is that our meals will bring comfort to the Mayfield community during this time of tragedy."

The organization is asking for monetary donations as well as volunteers

6. Islamic Relief USA

Religious nonprofit organization Islamic Relief USA has teams mobilized on the ground in Kentucky providing relief for impacted families. The group is asking for monetary donations to assist in providing shelter and disaster assessment for the storm's victims. 

Update From the Field - Midwest Tornado Outbreak - Islamic Relief USA by Islamic Relief USA on YouTube
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