Berea College to make at least $1 million available for eastern Kentucky

Posted at 6:14 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 18:41:33-04

BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Berea College's president, Lyle Roelofs, announced that the college will make more than $1 million available to eastern Kentucky communities impacted by flooding.

"We have not only been educating students from eastern Kentucky — but we've been working in the region supporting individuals, communities, families and so on," Roelofs says.

Funds will help schools, individuals, businesses, and non-profits. Funds will come through the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, support for school systems, and the Mountain Association.

The president says many students and their families were impacted.

"School systems that have been damaged — that's our highest priority because school systems prepared students to go to college and we want them to be ready to come to Berea and other places too," says Roelofs.

Roelofs says the effort to help eastern Kentuckians directly aligns with their mission. While the school is making these funds available for the region, its faculty and staff are also making themselves available as volunteers.

"They put us working in the — to help save the archives because a lot of the archives were flooded," says chair of the NEH of Appalachian Studies, Silas House.

Berea College's employees were given two extra vacation days to volunteer in eastern Kentucky communities. House helped preserve archives and town history. He says it was a memorable experience. "I do think that Kentuckians, and rural people, and Appalachians tend to just go right to action and, you know, start the cleanup,” says House.

President Roelofs says in times of need, Kentuckians are always there for one another.

"I think other organizations that are in sound condition should be helping as much as they can — and then of course, if something happens here in Berea, we think other parts of our state would step in and help us. That's the way it works in Kentucky,” says Roelofs.

Berea College's leaders say they have a responsibility to help this community.