Massive relief effort in Mayfield for those impacted by tornadoes

Posted at 6:49 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 19:11:46-05

MAYFIELD, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lives changed forever in the wake of last week’s tornadoes.

Right now, there are few answers for people who lost everything or even a loved one.

That’s why people from across the country have flocked to western Kentucky to try and help the hardest-hit communities.

Less than two miles from the destruction around downtown Mayfield, sits the Mayfield-Graves County Fairgrounds.

This site is now serving as the main relief center for the county.

"I don't have an adjective. The need is gigantic,” said J.J. Adams, the volunteer coordinator for the distribution center.

Adams taught in Graves County Public Schools for four years and has remained close to the area. That’s why she is helping to lead the effort to make sure the folks in need get basic supplies.

"We have families of 9, 10, that are coming to get supplies and are coming a couple of times a day so they can get multiple items for multiple trips,” said Adams.

In the parking lot, we found James Hensley. He’s 60 years old and can’t get around easily, which is why he was waiting in the van while his wife went inside to pick up supplies.

He was inside his home on 10th Street in Mayfield when the tornado hit Friday night.

"Just scared. Very, very, scared,” said Hensley. "I mean, thank God he let us live through it anyway.”

Hensley says his sister works at the candle factory that was destroyed in the storm. He says, fortunately, she was not there that night because she was in the hospital.

"And thank God she was in the hospital that night it happened because then,” said Hensley.

There’s a long road ahead for Hensley and many within his unrecognizable hometown.

As he waited for supplies, another five trailers full of supplies arrived at the distribution center. We also watched more volunteers arrive.


"It's just absolutely incredible to see the amount of people coming in to help and it's just truly, truly, heartbreaking to see these families come in and just, lot of them are lost. And scared and shocked. I'm just really thankful to be able to be here and to provide the support that they need and the supplies they need,” said Karie Falder, a volunteer.

Falder lives in Nashville now, but Mayfield is where she was born and raised. She came up as soon as she could following the tornado.

She became emotional when we asked what was going through her mind as she drove through town.

"Thank you, and thank you for everyone's support all over the state and all over the country. Just keep it coming,” said Falder.

There are many ways that people can help in the relief effort at the Fairgrounds. J.J. Adams says they are in desperate need of more volunteers, especially to work the receiving side of things in the evening and early morning.

"What we need is, we need backups. WE have people who are working for 10-12 hour shifts with minimal breaks. So we need people who are strong with organizational skills. Who take direction well. Who are good with team,” said Falder.

The distribution center is located at:

1004 KY-121

Mayfield, KY 42066

Adams also handed over a list of donated items they continue to need:

  • Extension cords
  • Oil for generators
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Diapers for all ages
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Propane for heaters
  • Can openers
  • Pet supplies
  • Hygiene products
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Rakes, shovels, brooms
  • Cleaning products, including bleach and Pinesol
  • Dish soap and sponges
  • Laundry detergent
  • Gas cans
  • Duct tape