Stories of Impact

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Kentucky Tornadoes – Thank You For Helping Us Make A Difference


Article by Ozzy Samad

The night of December 10th saw a near unprecedented level of devastation in our nation’s heartland. The deadly tornadoes that struck Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi left a trail of destruction with towns scarcely recognizable and the final loss of life tally at 58 victims. As dawn broke on the morning of Saturday the 11th and pictures of near obliterated communities flashed across our TV screens, it was imperative for BBF to immediately join the relief effort and assist those impacted, as quickly as possible. As you may know, BBF’s strategy is to work with partners on the ground to make the biggest impact in the most efficient way possible – and as always, 100% of the funds received for our disaster response are used to support emergency relief and rebuilding efforts.

After the Kentucky tornadoes, these partners provided an existing infrastructure which BBF utilized to complement responses of aid from other sources. Having worked extensively with foodbanks in the Feeding America Network during disasters, our immediate response was to pinpoint and provide aid to those directly assisting victims in emergency shelters without means to fend for themselves. In Kentucky itself, these foodbanks served 42 counties through a network of 240 community partners. BBF provided similar support to a foodbank in northeast Arkansas and along with the foodbanks in Kentucky, helped provide approximately 240,000 meals. BBF also partnered with World Central Kitchen to help serve more than 110,000 meals to communities across 14 cities.

In our traditional logistical and relief role, BBF offered to send shipments of food from local Pittsburgh foodbanks along with relief supplies donated by our corporate partners. These included tarps, hard hats, medical supplies, and cleaning products, along with PPE for first responders. BBF continues to respond on the medical front by collaborating with two PQMD (Partnership for Quality Medical Distributions) partners. You may recall that we joined PQMD last year and it is a preeminent industry group that enables us to collaborate with other non-profits and corporate partners with a common interest in helping others and making a positive societal impact.

In this regard, BBF is collaborating with Heart to Heart International (HHI) to operate a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) in conjunction with Kentucky Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). This collaboration has also been invaluable as we too will soon have a MMU to help underserved community members in our own neighborhoods. Similarly, BBF is working with International Medical Corps (IMC) whose emergency response team assessed damage and determined needs in the hardest-hit communities – allowing for the assistance of facilities such as the Jackson Purchase Medical Center, the main hospital servicing Mayfield, along with other medical facilities such as FQHCs.

Though perhaps now in the rear-view mirror of daily news coverage, as recovery and relief programs in the affected communities continue, so do BBF’s efforts in helping rebuild the lives of those so adversely impacted. Thank you for your support and commitment in helping make this a reality.