ARH back-to-school drive underway to help kids affected by EKY flooding

Appalachian Regional Healthcare is providing help for the Eastern Kentucky area with a drive for free school supplies for local students in need.
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 12:47 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating flood in Eastern Kentucky.

The recovery is far from over, as many people are still picking up the pieces and even rebuilding their homes.

We’re also nearing the new school year. To help lift the burden on families and teachers, Appalachian Regional Healthcare is holding a school supply drive all week.

ARH is asking for all of the back-to-school necessities, from pencils to calculators. They’re also asking for things teachers might need for their classrooms.

“Thousands of children throughout that region need our help to get back to school,” said Jollie Phillips, president & CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare.

Many of them are the children of Appalachian Regional Healthcare employees.

“We have over 40 employees who lost absolutely everything during the flooding,” Phillips said.

Phillips says, through their ARH Foundation, they’ve helped thousands of people over the last year. Though their work, she says, is far from over.

“We continue to raise money, and we’re buying things like washers and dryers and HVAC units,” said Phillips.

Now, they’re hoping to fill dozens of bins to the brim with supplies.

“They are our future workforce at ARH, and we will continue to do everything that we can to be partners with our schools,” Phillips said.

For the next four days, the Lexington ARH office and the old JC Penney in Hazard will accept donations for all grade levels. Things like wipes and paper towels are also needed for teachers’ classrooms.

“All of our families have been impacted by inflation this past year, so the cost of construction has risen for people rebuilding their homes,” said Phillips. “The cost of school supplies has risen too.”

Once all of the supplies are collected and organized, Phillips says they’ll be taken to schools in the counties affected by the flood.

“We’ll have trucks going down the mountains, just like we did last year, that were full of food and water,” said Phillips. “This year, hopefully, they’re overwhelmed with school supplies.”

Supplies can be dropped off here all week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Thursday, there will be food trucks and free health screenings from 11 a.m. to 1p.m.

If someone can’t make it out to drop off supplies at either location, online orders can be shipped to: Appalachian Regional Healthcare, 2260 Executive Drive, Lexington, KY 40505. They will take monetary donations as well.