AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A week after the deadliest tornado outbreak in the U.S. in a decade, disaster relief is pouring in from all over the country. As of Sunday, volunteer groups from Colorado were already on the ground in Kentucky, the hardest hit state, and others were on the way there.
Throughout the weekend, an Arvada Costco was home base for Tom Smith and several others with Second Chance Bicycle Shop, a nonprofit that rebuilds broken-down bicycles and gives them to less fortunate children and adults. The group’s goal was to gather truckloads of donations for people in need 1,000 miles away.
“We have two trucks that have already left, we have another one that is leaving [Sunday],” Smith said.
The destination is Mayfield, Kentucky, one of the areas hit hardest by the tornados that ravaged the Midwest a week ago.
The three trucks are full of a wide range of donations, including 60,000 pounds of dog food, water and non-perishable items, bicycles, and children’s toys just in time for Christmas.
Second Chance is working with local church groups, which will help distribute the items in Western Kentucky.
“That’s really what this is about, just making sure we’re all taken care of,” Smith said.
Two hours east of Mayfield in Bowling Green, Jordon Daniel has been cleaning up debris since Wednesday. The longtime volunteer and chainsaw instructor with Team Rubicon, a group of veterans who respond to disasters, has aided many other past tornado cleanup efforts across the Midwest and Southeast.
“The level of devastation is unlike any other tornado that I’ve seen,” Daniel said.
Daniel is one of four Colorado volunteers with Team Rubicon who immediately traveled to Kentucky. Over the coming weeks, several other waves of volunteers will come to take his place.
“We’re able to go through and manage a lot of the tree work that’s around the properties so that way rebuild efforts can begin since all of the hazards are out of the way,” Daniel said.
That rebuild in Western Kentucky will be a long and difficult process, but there’s no shortage of people pitching in.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re at. If you can help, you should,” Smith said.
“If it happened to us, we’d want the help. It’s important because we’re all part of the same country, we’re all part of the same family.”
More than a dozen local companies and organizations helped Second Chance Bicycles in their effort. Those include Grace Baptist Church, Heather Gardens Senior Living, Tailgate Tavern, Wide Open Saloon, Liberty Mutual of Castle Rock, Penske, Costco, Lowes, Parker Police, Aurora Police, Rob Nelson Design, and Fusion Sign Company.
If you are interested in volunteering for Team Rubicon or donating, you can visit the group’s website.