As communities across the Midwest and South continue to clean up the damage and try to rebuild what was lost in the aftermath of the tornado outbreak on Dec. 11, Major League Baseball Charities has made donations totaling $100,000 for recovery in the six states affected by the devastating storms.
The local Red Cross organizations in the region received $90,000 from MLB; $10,000 went to UMPS CARE Charities, the MLB umpires' charitable arm, which has been asking for donations to help Mayfield, Ky., one of the hardest-hit communities and the hometown of Major League umpire Tripp Gibson.
“All of us at Major League Baseball send our condolences to all those affected by these disasters,” said April Brown, MLB’s vice president of social responsibility. “Nothing can replace the lives lost or the emotional and physical toll that these tornadoes have caused on these communities. However, we hope our contribution at this time provides some support for the most immediate needs of those on the ground when relief is needed the most.”
The donation from MLB augments the work that Gibson is doing for Mayfield with UMPS CARE. Gibson has family members in Mayfield, and he traveled home after the tornadoes to help with the relief efforts.
“I am so thankful that my friends and family are safe, but having just been in Mayfield, words cannot describe the devastation and loss,” said Gibson, who is one of four MLB umpires -- along with Greg Gibson, Larry Vanover, and Sam Holbrook -- from Kentucky. “Our mantra at UMPS CARE is ‘Helping People Is an Easy Call.' I am grateful that MLB stepped up to the plate to help. Our family has been overwhelmed by the love and support shown by so many for my hometown."
Donations are being solicited at the UMPS CARE website to aid the Independence Bank - Mayfield-Graves County Tornado Relief Fund.
The tornado that struck Mayfield stretched three-quarters of a mile at its widest point and had a touchdown area of 227 miles. Across the state of Kentucky, 70 people died in connection with the storms, and more than 1,000 properties were destroyed, leaving hundreds of people without homes or jobs. Five other states -- Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee -- were hit. At least six people were killed at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois, four died in Tennessee and two died in Arkansas, with numerous others across the region injured and/or left having to rebuild damaged communities.
“All of us at UMPS CARE Charities have been humbled by the overwhelming support for Mayfield, Kentucky, the hometown of one of our own, MLB umpire Tripp Gibson,” said Executive Director Jenn Skolochenko-Platt. “This donation from MLB speaks volumes about the support of the baseball family, and we are proud to do our part to help Mayfield recover from the devastating damage caused by the tornadoes."
MLB hopes its donation can provide support as the region begins its second week of recovery. In addition, the American Red Cross is soliciting donations to help: text TORNADOES to 90999 to give $10.