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UT Athletics Collects Supplies for Tornado Victims, Gets Surprise Donation

Tabatha Wethal
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The University of Tennessee Volunteers collecting supplies to help with tornado disaster relief in Kentucky were surprised with a large, out-of-state donation this week.

On Dec. 10, a violent tornado moved across Western Kentucky, killing dozens and causing serious and widespread damage. Tennessee Athletics announced in December that it is partnering with agencies managing relief efforts in Marshall County, Ky., and would hold a donation collection event on the UT campus.

On Wednesday, Volunteers from Tennessee Athletics and UT's Jones Center for Leadership and Service staffed a donation drop-off site between the Tennessee softball and soccer stadiums in the campus River District.

WVLT-TV reported that 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, Fla.

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,” Morgan said, WVLT-TV reported.

Morgan said she has been the victim of hurricane damage on the Florida coastline 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.

Tennessee Athletics said Items sought by relief agencies included 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, Ky., for need-based distribution to families in surrounding communities impacted by the recent tornadoes throughout the region, Tennessee Athletics officials said.

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