Volunteers help clean up damage in Kokomo neighborhoods

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KOKOMO, Ind-- Volunteers are working around the clock to clean up damage in some of the hardest-hit areas of Kokomo, after tornadoes ravaged Howard County.

The United Way held a meeting Thursday morning, not even 24-hours after the tornadoes hit. City and community leaders, law enforcement, church members, The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, and others, gathered to provide information on what services they have available and what the communities needs are, including mental service needs.

“Everyone has been through a trauma. We can’t underestimate that and so people who are trained in that, whether they are local pastors or trained mental health professionals, they’re going to be available to help people," said United Way of Howard County CEO, Abbie Smith.

The largest need is in some communities where families can't afford to clean-up the damage themselves. In the Garden Square Apartments community,volunteers spent all day Thursday picking up debris and placing it in piles along the road, ready for the city to pick up.

“We got siding, there’s roofing, the plywood. All of these buildings here, the whole entire roofs are gone. All the tresses all the plywood and then of course all the trees that are down," Kevin Sparkle, a community volunteer organizer explained the damage to the apartments.

Student volunteers from Kokomo High School also helped out in the relief efforts, picking up branches and siding from homes. Across the street, volunteers gathered to prepare meals to serve to neighbors who were coming back to their homes to check out the damage.

“A lot of glass right now. I kind of lucked out. I still have the roof on that apartment, but really it’s a lot of glass, rain water," said resident Kyle Young.

Volunteers will  be going door to door in various communities, asking residents if they have any needs. Right now, there's need for donations to help the victims of the tornado.

Diapers, formula, feminine products, and personal hygiene products are the priority. The United Way says they do not need any clothing items at this time. You can call 211 United Way for more information on donations.

For more ways to help out neighbors, click here.

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