Groups, schools, individuals coordinating help for Indiana tornado victims

Many ways available for residents to donate goods to those in need

By Dann Denny
331-4350 |
March 9, 2012

Bloomington resident William Pless delivered a truckload of locally donated items — toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. — Wednesday to Henryville, the southern Indiana town hit hardest by last week’s tornadoes.

“Our family pooled together to donate items, and our neighbor Jim LeSeure made sure there was plenty of gas to go back and forth,” said Beth Pless, William’s wife. “I come from a large family, and my parents taught us that if someone is in need and we can help, it is the right thing to do.”

William Pless dropped the items off at the Henryville Christian Church, then began moving totes of items from a relief center to the church. He plans on returning to Bloomington in a few days, collecting more donated items and taking them back to Henryville.

People can donate items at the Buzy Beez Daycare at 716 Anna Lee Lane. Beth Pless said no clothing is needed, but can openers are. “People have donated a lot of canned goods, but not everyone has a can opener that isn’t electric,” she said.

Ivy Tech

The Alpha Rho Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington is receiving donations for tornado victims each day, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. People can bring items to donation boxes at various locations. Items needed include toiletries, diapers, formula, non-perishable food items, batteries, flashlights and can openers.

The drop-off sites are the main campus, 200 Daniels Way, room A223; Liberty Drive at 1907 S. Liberty Drive, Room L137; Liberty Crossing at 2088 S. Liberty Drive, main reception desk; Indiana Center for the Life Sciences at 501 North Profile Parkway, main reception desk; and Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, 122 S. Walnut St.

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society that recognizes and encourages scholarship among two-year college students.

Jackson Creek school

The public is invited to donate items at a collection site at Jackson Creek Middle School between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. that will be delivered today to the areas in southern Indiana hit hardest by the swath of tornadoes. The items most needed are blankets, bed sheets, new pillows, toiletries, coats, tools, flashlights, batteries, work gloves and tarps. School officials say items such as food, water and clothing other than coats and gloves can be donated to other organizations, but not to the school’s collection site.

Register to volunteer

The state’s official Volunteer Reception Center reports that so far 1,752 people have registered to volunteer to help people in the tornado-damaged areas of southern Indiana, and 800 have assisted in the affected areas. Individuals and groups are asked not to show up unless requested. Volunteers will still be needed for weeks, or even months, to come.

The Indiana Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster has a registration call-in number and a website for those who want to help. Volunteers will be called in as needed, based on skills listed, to assist in specific areas. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Register by calling 502-599-8593 or online at

Official donation site

The official donation site, operated 9 a.m.-7 p.m. by the Adventist Community Services, is now at the old U.S. Census Bureau warehouse at 700 Patrol Road in Charlestown. Donators should follow the receiving signs to Gate 2. The donation management phone numbers are 812-287-0090 and 812-287-0026.

The greatest needs are for money, nonperishable food items, paper products, gloves, heavy duty trash bags, personal hygiene items, baby items, cat food, dog food, kitty litter, yard tools, gas cards, new packages of socks and underwear, tarps, laundry baskets and totes, and towels and first aid supplies.

Not needed are perishable food items and clothing.

Household items and cleaning items will be needed in the near future.

Mental health services

The Disaster Distress Hotline is a national toll-free help line — 800-985-5990 — that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers free, confidential and multilingual crisis support service. There is also a crisis counseling toll free line — 866-679-4631 — that offers counseling by phone or referrals for services.

Disaster mental health teams — mental health professionals from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addictions with the Family and Social Services Administration — have had 404 contacts. Thirty professionals, including 22 in Henryville, are providing assistance to those affected by the storms.

Travel update

Ind. 62 near Friendship at the Ripley/Dearborn county line is closed.

Eastbound Ind. 160 west of Henryville at I-65 is open to local traffic only.

U.S. 31 from Ind. 356 in Scott County to Ind. 403 in Clark County is closed.

U.S. 31 from Ind. 356 at Vienna to Memphis Road is closed.

Ind. 362 from Ind. 3 to Ind. 62 is closed except to emergency vehicles.

For information on road closures, visit the Indiana Travel Conditions site, which can be found at or by calling 800-261-ROAD (7623).


About 25 Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel have arrived in the damaged areas and are working with state counterparts to gather damage statistics and estimates, support state response efforts and provide staffing resources as required.

Copyright: 2012

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.