Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) has distributed more than $60,000 to schools in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties through its Eastern Kentucky Student Relief Fund.
“We created this fund to be responsive to the needs of our schools and students in the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding in Eastern Kentucky,” said Colby Hall, Executive Director of SOAR. “While our efforts in this disbursement are focused on schools, the needs of our students in the weeks and months to come will be important as they transition to school and housing arrangements. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and we are committed to supporting students and families during this recovery.”
Congressman Hal Rogers, who serves as SOAR’s Founding Co-Principal Officer, said the Eastern Kentucky Student Relief Fund addresses the fundamental needs of schools, students, and families in a unique way.
“SOAR’s Student Relief Fund is compassion in action with a dollar-for-dollar impact on our students where they need it the most,” said Congressman Rogers. “As we survey the multitude of needs across the region, SOAR is targeting technology losses in schools that were heavily damaged by the flood. This investment will ensure that our students are not lagging behind due to computers and laptops that were destroyed by mud and water. I applaud SOAR for helping students get back to school as soon as possible with these donations.”
Toyota Tsusho, an East Kentucky Partner of SOAR, made a $50,000 donation to start the relief efforts.
“Kentucky is Toyota Tsusho’s home, and many of our employees, like me, call Eastern Kentucky home,” said Mike Lavender, Toyota Tsusho Senior Vice President and Ashland, Ky., native. “We are proud to team up with SOAR to help flood-impacted students and families in Eastern Kentucky get back to school and back to normal. ”
Here’s a breakdown of the first disbursement from the EKY Student Support Fund.
Hindman Elementary School (Knott County) | $35,730
Funds will go to purchase 90 laptops to replace those destroyed by the flood.
Letcher County Schools | $14,840
Funds will go to purchase 56 Chromebooks destroyed by flooding.
Riverside Christian School (Breathitt County) | $9,850
Funds will go to purchase computers, laptops, and networking equipment destroyed by the flood.
The need is great
School officials in impacted counties communicated to SOAR remaining needs related to students and teachers are in the millions of dollars. Because of this, SOAR commits to keeping the fund open for the long term until all gaps are closed.
SOAR will work closely with school systems, district technology leads, and family resource centers to support students and student households by purchasing items crucial to returning kids to classrooms as soon as possible:
- School supplies
- Household appliances
- Internet assistance
- Rental assistance
- Gas cards for transportation to and from school
- Other needs as they arise and are communicated by school districts
If a school located in a FEMA disaster-declared county needs help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As tax-deductible donations are made, SOAR works with urgency to get funds out the door and into the hands of those impacted.
If you would like to donate, you can do so:
By mail at:
c/o Student Relief Fund
137 Main Street
Pikeville, KY 51501
By phone at:
For additional information or questions, please email email@example.com.