Ways to Help Those Affected by the Eastern Kentucky Floods

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

For Jaley Caudill, the destruction in Eastern Kentucky struck close to home — literally. A native of Whitesburg, in Letcher County, Caudill's home county was one of the hardest hit in last week’s historic flooding. 

Now she’s doing what she can to help. 

“It’s devastating,” says the Physician Assistant Studies student, who is currently in rotations in Lexington. “I haven’t been home, but I’ve seen the pictures, and my friends and family say the reality is just even worse. My husband has been back (in Whitesburg) and he said you just can’t believe it.”

Caudill, who last year was one of two students awarded the 2021 National Health Services Corps (NHSC) Scholarship for her passion and dedication for providing rural healthcare, got to work. The home where she was raised was located on a hill, she said, and was spared the destruction that so many faced.

Others in her and her husband’s families weren’t so lucky. So, they organized.

“We put out the call this weekend for some items like diapers, baby wipes, water, food and cleaning supplies,” she said. “And we were able to take down a large supply.”

But, she says, the population needs so much more. Last week, the area experienced record flooding, with as much as six inches of rain reported in some cities over a span of 24 hours. Dozens of deaths have been reported, and thousands are without power.

“I just didn’t know how destructive flooding could be,” Caudill said. “You see a place where a house was, and all that is there now is flat ground.”

Her church has been demolished, as well as the pharmacy where she worked since she was a teenager.

Now, all she can do is try to help get supplies to those in need.

“People need things like underwear and socks, and medical supplies, and food and water,” she said.

One doctor in the area, Dr. Van Breeding of the Whitesburg Medical Clinic, sent out a mass email asking for supplies, like:

  • IV fluids
  • Tetanus shots
  • Hepatitis A shots
  • IV tubing
  • Oxygen concentrators 
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Nebulizer machines
  • Nebulizer tubing
  • CPAP Machines
  • Insulin and supplies
  • Glucometers and strips
  • Constant Glucometers and readers like Libre and Dexcom
  • Dental equipment 
  • Portable dental clinic trucks
  • Portable X-ray machines and trucks
  • Portable lab trucks
  • Food trucks for patients and staff as most of our food supply and restaurants have been flooded and are closed
  • Water bottled, Gallons and emergency tankers
  • Exam tables and equipment 
  • Desktop and laptop computers for medical charting 
  • Suture equipment 
  • Sterile dressing and wound treatment supplies
  • Disinfectant like Hebiclens and betadine
  • Blood pressure cuffs and digital scales
  • Thermometers
  • Office chairs
  • Cleaning materials 
  • Maintenance equipment

“We lost our entire billing and administration office on Main Street to six feet of water,” he wrote. “So, any help with computers and office equipment is needed. Many of you have met with us at our administrative office conference room. It at one time Thursday had water six feet deep in it. So, all is lost. We will be open but are literally using paper charts, stethoscopes and cell phones to try to take care of people.”

Breeding said supplies can be sent to him at:

Whitesburg Medical Clinic
226 Medical Plaza Lane 
Whitesburg, Ky

Or, he can be contacted at:

Van Breeding MD

Frances Feltner, DNP, MSN, RN, and director of the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard (750 Morton Blvd.), reported that the Center is being used as a drop-off site for supplies and donations.

“The devastation is unreal,” she wrote in an email. “Whole communities are wiped out. Lives lost and still missing loved ones.”

Other ways people can help include:

  • For student-related issues, such as counseling and basic needs support, please direct individuals to call our UK Center for Support and Intervention (CSI) at 859-257-3755.
  • If you or someone you know has been affected by the flooding and needs support, please reach out to us at crisisresponse@uky.edu. For more general questions, calls can be directed to UK Health Corps at 859-218-SAFE.
  • If you would like to support the UK community, you can donate to our Basic Needs and Persistence Fund for students or our Crisis Program Gift Fund for faculty and staff.

For Caudill and her town, a rebuild of unimaginable proportions has begun. She said now, the best place to contact to donate supplies would be the local high school — Letcher County Central High School — at 435 Cougar Drive, Whitesburg, Ky., 41858. The contact there is Jennifer Wampler at jennifer.wampler@letcher.kyschools.us.

“It wiped our town off the map,” she said.