Disaster Response

Whether it’s a tornado, flood, wildfire or global pandemic, we help our community respond, reimagine and recover.

It is in times of disaster that we see what it means to be united as a community.


When disaster strikes, United Way puts feet on the ground for immediate relief and stays a supportive presence to lead long-term recovery. Our experience as a community convener puts us in a unique position to help. We are able to leverage resources and relationships to respond to devastating events across the state of Kansas. Depending on the disaster, we employ the following tactics to help:

211 Information & Referral

211 Information & Referral offers key information in the wake of a disaster. Community members can dial 2-1-1 to find how to get help or give help. We work with key government entities to communicate the most current and relevant information. We can even create a database of individuals willing to operate large power equipment or have unique skills, like running a chainsaw, and connect them with property owners who need such services.


Depending on the disaster, United Way will set up a fund to aid long-term recovery efforts. We aren’t just there for the immediate aftermath of a disaster. We stick with the community for sustainable long-term recovery.

Volunteer Center

When a natural disaster strikes, our Volunteer Center mobilizes volunteers for cleanup. We work with property owners to identify work that needs to be done and obtain permissions. A volunteer reception center trains community volunteers and matches them with work to be done. We even track volunteer hours to apply for federal aid, if available.

United Way disaster director working with volunteers at a tornado disaster site.
Give Items of Value

Our Give Items of Value program leverages corporate donations to respond to the needs of a disaster. GIV collects and distributes everything from bottled water to shovels and wheelbarrows.

Community Resource Center

When the situation calls for it, United Way will set up a community resource center. It’s a one-stop-shop for individuals to meet with case managers, apply for emergency financial assistance (if available), work out payment plans with utility companies, identify clean up work they need volunteer assistance with and more.


A house in Andover, Kansas, after it was hit by a tornado in April of 2022.
2022 Andover & Sedgwick County Tornado

When an EF-3 tornado ripped through Andover and parts of Sedgwick County on April 29, 2022, United Way was there to assist by standing up a multi-agency resource center and fund for long-term recovery efforts.

Two Sedgwick County Health Department workers are dressed in masks and protective suits. They are testing the driver of a car for COVID.
2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

United Way is helping our community respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way 211 Information and Referral is answering questions about the coronavirus, providing screening for COVID-19 testing and connecting people to resources in the community. United Way partnered with Sedgwick County Health Department to provide screening for testing for local residents. We also opened a Help Center to provide emergency financial assistance, free food, budget counseling and other services to those who have been financially impacted by the pandemic or aviation-related layoffs.

A scene, looking down the main street of Greensburg, Kansas, after it took a direct hit from a tornado.
2007 Greensburg Tornado

On May 4, 2007,  a devastating EF5 tornado ripped through Greensburg, Kansas, destroying most of the town. United Way coordinated volunteers for immediate cleanup efforts, managed a statewide fund and managed long-term recovery efforts.


When disaster strikes, be informed of how you can get help or give help. When you sign up for our monthly email newsletter, you will also get on-going updates during times of disaster. Follow up on social media for the most current information.

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Our focus is on healtheducationfinancial stability and basic needs—the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Click below to learn more about what we’re doing, the programs we invest in and our lasting impact in each area.