Midwestern tornadoes: Walmart, Lowe's donate supplies to help recovery efforts

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Walmart and Lowe's are sending supplies and monetary donations to aid in relief and recovery efforts in areas of the South and Midwest that were devastated by severe tornadoes over the weekend.

Four twisters hit Kentucky in all, including one with an extraordinarily long path of about 200 miles, authorities said. At least 64 people died in the state, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

The tornado outbreak also killed at least six people in Illinois, where an Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville was hit; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas, where a nursing home was destroyed, and the governor said workers shielded residents with their own bodies; and two in Missouri.

Many residents, specifically in Kentucky, could be without heat, water or electricity in frigid temperatures for weeks or longer, officials warned. 

On Saturday, Walmart tweeted that the company is sending water and supplies to residents impacted by the "devastating tornadoes" in Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.  

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The company said it's also looking for other ways to help. 

Meanwhile, Lowe’s announced that it's planning to donate to relief and recovery efforts after tornadoes caused "catastrophic and unprecedented damage." 

The donation will go toward Lowe's disaster relief partners, including the American Red Cross, and Lowe's nonprofit Pro customers to provide emergency shelter, critical relief supplies, food and blood center operations to residents. 

"It's heartbreaking to see the devastation this has caused for so many families and communities this close to the holidays," said Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost their homes and loved ones, including members of the Lowe's family." 

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About 26,000 homes and businesses in Kentucky were without electricity, according to PowerOutage.us. More than 10,000 homes and businesses have no water, and another 17,000 are under boil-water advisories, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett told reporters.

Other nonprofit organizations are also mobilizing efforts. 

Beshear announced the creation of a tornado relief fund for the western part of the state and also called on people to donate blood, which has been running in short supply during the pandemic.

To send a $10 donation to the American Red Cross, the organization is asking people to text "REDCROSS" to the number, 90999. Other donations can be made by calling 800-733-2767 or visiting redcross.org online.

Likewise, the Salvation Army has set up a disaster relief fund for tornado victims. Donations can made online or by calling 800-725-2769. It is also preparing to dispatch mobile kitchens that can serve 500 to 1,500 meals per day to the survivors and first responders in the affected areas. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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