Andover Tornado Response Efforts
Headshot of Bryan Ramsdale, United Way Digital Marketing Strategist.

By Bryan Ramsdale, United Way Digital Marketing Strategist

April 29 was an upsetting date for many people. Violent storms hit south central Kansas. Areas of southeastern Sedgwick County, Andover and Rosalia, Kansas were hit by tornadoes.

While we can say the silver lining was no one was killed, there were injuries and damage figures in the millions. People lost their homes, their vehicles and their lifestyle.

Dramatic drone footage from Meteorologist Reed Timmer showed a tornado hitting Andover, destroying homes, businesses and the YMCA. In this area, over 200 structures were impacted with thousands of people in the damage path.

In the immediate moments after tornadoes hit these communities, neighbors, friends and strangers stood up to help others. One story from an Andover resident really hit home about the community coming together.

Rachel Livengood shared with United Way of the Plains the moment she was alerted to the tornado and how when she rushed for shelter, it was her neighbor who came to her rescue.

The scary thing about tornadoes is they can impact anyone. The best built houses can be destroyed, and as we saw in news reports, even schools can be heavily damaged. But our community has a way of making things right.

Emergency shelters went up and first responders were quick to get to work. There were downed power lines, debris in roadways and people trapped in their homes. Our team headed to the Sedgwick County Emergency Operations Center to help communicate this critical information. When a disaster strikes, a team of leaders from first response agencies and area nonprofits gather to quickly determine who will be responsible for needed functions. United Way of the Plains is fortunate to be represented by Mark Stump, our director of community services, who has been part of these efforts for 32 years.

To respond to the April 29 tornadoes, United Way of the Plains was designated as the fiscal agent and Mark volunteered to set up the Residential Disaster Assistance Center, where residents could find immediate help. Known as a multi-agency resource center or M.A.R.C., it served as a hub for delivering needed services and registering those impacted for both short-term and long-term assistance, including:

  • Food and basic needs
  • Cleanup supplies (rakes, trash bags, roof patching materials)
  • Registering for potential financial assistance
  • Gift cards and vouchers for food, clothing and temporary housing
  • Health resources to deal with infection control and mental health
To respond to the tornado that struck Andover on April 29, United Way set up a multi-agency resource center.
Therapy animals visited United Way's multi-agency resource center to help those directly impacted by the Andover tornado relieve stress.

Hundreds of people from organizations all across Kansas and the nation showed up to help.

  • American Red Cross
  • Andover Community Food Bank
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Butler County Health Department
  • Catholic Charities – Wichita
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • East Point Church – Church of Christ Disaster Relief
  • Global Empowerment Mission
  • Goodwill
  • Great Plains UMC Disaster Response
  • Hapi Hands and Paws, Inc.
  • Kansas Food Bank
  • Kansas Legal Services
  • Kansas Lion’s Foundation
  • Lutheran Early Response Team
  • Salvation Army

More than 150 people have registered with United Way of the Plains for assistance. Anyone impacted by the storms who has not registered, should do so with the American Red Cross (1-800-RED-CROSS) and United Way of the Plains. Registration is essential for an accurate assessment of the impacts the tornado caused as decisions are made with helping these communities recover. Even if you are not facing major issues with recovery, registering with United Way of the Plains may help down the road with unexpected financial costs. You can register at the Andover Community Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday, May 15. If you cannot make it during this time or need to register after the 15th, please call 2-1-1. Since the storms, our 211 information and referral service has taken 280 calls about the disaster, from those needing help to people wanting to volunteer.

A pile of rubble is all that is left of a home that was struck by the Andover tornado on April 29. United Way is helping to coordinate relief efforts.

If you would like to assist those impacted, United Way has set up a fund for long-term recovery efforts after natural disasters.

GIVE NOW
  • Text “teamwork” (one word, no spaces) to 41444 to give on the go from your phone.
  • Mail a check, payable to United Way of the Plains with “Disaster Relief Fund” in the memo, to 245 N. Water St., Wichita, KS 67202.
  • Corporate donations can be arranged with Anne Chandler, Vice President of Philanthropy. Contact her at achandler@unitedwayplains.org or (316) 267-1321 ext. 4213.
  • Note: United Way 211 is not able to accept donations over the phone.

 

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Published On: May 13, 2022Tags: ,
2 Comments
  1. […] Those who would like to help families impacted by the Andover tornado can donate through the United Way’s fund for long-term recovery efforts after natural disasters on its website HERE. […]

  2. […] Those who would like to help families impacted by the Andover tornado can donate through the United Way’s fund for long-term recovery efforts after natural disasters on its website HERE. […]

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