LEWIS COUNTY, KY (WOWK) — The effort to help get much-needed supplies out to those affected by the devastation caused by the tornadoes in western Kentucky is widespread in eastern Kentucky.

In Lewis County, Kentucky, the ‘Stuff the Bus’ initiative continues into its second day. Those on the ground here say the outpouring of support they’ve seen from the community so far comes as no surprise to them.

“People from all over the nation have said they’re surprised and they’re amazed; I’m not. This is what people do. It’s not, ‘well they need to get something done,’ it’s ‘get out of the way, we’re coming to help,” says Sam Howard, founder and CEO of Trace Creek Construction, which is helping organize the effort throughout the region.

That sentiment is certainly being shown through the ‘Stuff the Bus’ initiative, which has 21 school districts across eastern Kentucky collecting certain items to send as a caravan to western Kentucky. At Garrison Elementary School, the collection is already piling up.

“We have donations here for our fellow Kentuckians that were victims of the tornado and storms—lots of different things, we have coats and hats, gloves, lots of different toys, some blankets…People are asking, ‘what else do we need to give? What else can we give? How else can we help?’ People are very helpful here,” says Sarah Porter, principal of Garrison Elementary School.  

This collection has been growing since Monday.

“Today we already have two tractor-trailer loads of water, two tractor-trailers already loaded with miscellaneous supplies, and that does not count what the school systems are raising through Friday,” Howard says.

The schools are also collecting cleaning supplies, water, non-perishable items and many other things.

“We’re going to move everything, we’ll have a bus caravan that will leave Morehead, Rowan County, going to leave at 8:00 o’clock Monday morning from the school system and we’re going as a caravan to western Kentucky,” Howard says.

When you ask those who are a part of this why they are putting in the effort to help:

“Because it matters…Every kid, every family, they matter… Help the fellow Kentuckian, help the fellow American,” Porter says.

Organizers here locally say they will continue to accept donations through the end of the week. Those behind ‘Stuff the Bus’ ask that all donations be dropped off by December 15th.

Below is a list of participating county schools and what they are accepting:

Ashland Independent: Socks, Personal Hygiene

Boyd County Schools: Water

Carter County Schools: Coats, Hats, Gloves

Elliot County Schools: Non-Perishable Food, Water

Fairview Independent: Shelf-stable food, Toiletries

Floyd County Schools: Blankets

Greenup County Schools: Toys

Johnson County Schools: Water

Jenkins Independent: Water

Knott County Schools: Pillows, Flashlights

Lawrence County Schools: Cleaning Supplies

Lewis County Schools: Coats, Hats, Toys

Martin County Schools: Stable Food Items, Toiletries

Morgan County Schools: Socks, Personal Hygiene

Magoffin County Schools: Cleaning Supplies

Paintsville Independent: Blankets

Pike County Schools: Toys

Pikeville Independent: Toys

Raceland Independent: Water

Rowan County Schools: Pillows, Flashlights, Cleaning Supplies

Russell Independent: Water