KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The concern for Kentucky flood victims stretches far and wide, and literally, from coast to coast.
Beverly Hills 90210 actress Rebecca Gayheart is a native of Knott County and was very anxious to talk to us about how she's trying to help, and how her heart is hurting, too.
Gayheart left Kentucky in her teens to pursue modeling and then acting. She's made a very full and busy life in LA, but much of her heart is back in Knott County, Kentucky.
"My family lives there. My immediate family. My mother, my father, my siblings, my aunts," said Gayheart. "There are millions of cousins. These are the people I grew up with."
In fact, Rebecca and her daughters were in Knott County just three days before storms hit... and had just spent time at Hindman's swimming pool.
"I have these beautiful pictures of all the kids swimming under this water fountain and they saw photos of what it looks like now," said Gayheart. "It's gone and there's a building that had fallen and collapsed inside the swimming pool."
Rebecca has been in touch with Sean Penn's disaster relief effort, CORE Response... which she says is already in action. She told LEX 18's Nancy Cox she's heard first-hand accounts from Penn's organization working directly with flood victims, who are turning down help in order to offer it to their neighbor.
"Every house they went to, people said take it to someone who really needs it," said Rebecca. "People have nothing, but they want donations to go to someone else."
Seeing the news coverage, and hearing from family, Rebecca felt compelled to do something. She teamed up with a childhood friend who also lives in LA, to start their own fundraiser.
"Both of our families are still there and we were feeling so helpless," said Gayheart. "The only thing we could do was come up with was to start a GoFundMe that could raise some money to help people go rebuild their lives."
We've heard a lot about "Mountain Pride" the last few days... and Rebecca says there's a lot more to learn about the place that still feels like home.
"My hometown means everything to me," said Gayheart. "These are the people who launched me and gave me the confidence and support to try to do something different."
So, she's asking for kindness in return. She said it's so important now that people don't forget. This isn't a need that goes away in a week or even a month or two.