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Spotlight an Altrusan

Disaster Relief Aid Spotlight

On July 28, 2022, parts of Eastern Kentucky flood waters ripped through Knott County leaving total devastation. The flood water ravaged the downtown area and left no building untouched. Store front windows shattered, sidewalks and streets were coated with silt and mud, and the entire community was unrecognizable when the flood waters finally receded. Foundations and rubble remained where homes once stood, and families were without power for days and some without water. Roadways were impassable and bridges were washed away.

Hindman Elementary is a rural school in Southeastern Kentucky and serves approximately 450 students and 38 faculty and staff members. Every part of the school was damaged by flood waters. The hallways, classrooms, gym, cafeteria, and library were filled with water, debris, and mud. The damage to the library was immense. The entire library had to be gutted to only concrete walls and floors. The entire collection of books received water/mold damage and had to be discarded—over 13,000 titles. All shelving and library furniture had to be discarded.

The pictures and news reports coming out of the area were heartbreaking and led many to want to identify ways to help. Sue Whitaker made a contact with a friend from the area and asked to be put in contact with someone with whom she could discuss how her club could help with an Altrusa International Foundation Disaster Relief Aid. Darlene Johnson, Librarian at the Hindman Elementary School, was the name that she received. After phone conversations and email exchanges, information was gathered so the Altrusa International of Muncie, IN Club could submit a request for a $2,500 Disaster Relief Aid.

Hindman Elementary is over 300 miles from Evansville and Muncie. Sue and Cathy decided to do a presentation via Zoom.

Representatives of the two clubs gathered on October 17 with the Hindman Elementary School Librarian, Darlene Johnson, and Principal, Brandi Sims. Jill Conway, Sue’s friend who told her about the Library’s devastation, received two checks and went to stand in for Sue and Cathy at the presentation. Altrusa International Foundation Chairman, Leslie Johnson, was fortunate enough to be invited to the presentation. Following the presentation, the librarian and a student shared their thoughts about what it meant to receive the grants from the International Foundation and that the monies would benefit 450 students.

The aid will help make an impact in the rebuilding of the library/literacy program for the school of over 450 students, One Book as a Time!

Disaster Relief Aid is available year-round from the Altrusa International Foundation. The application is available online at Along with the application, please provide a narrative describing the need and project in 500 words or less, including an estimated number of recipients affected. The application must also include the name of the non-profit for which the Disaster Relief Aid is requested along with the statement from the nonprofit that describes the need. Please also include the website link and letter/email/ newsletter from the nonprofit. Requests of $250-$2,500 may be approved by the Foundation Chair. Requests exceeding

$2,500 require approval from the Foundation Board of Trustees. Disaster Relief Aid should benefit at least 100 community members.

–Submitted by: Sue Whitaker, Altrusa International Director; Cathy McConnell, Evansville Club President, and Leslie Johnson, Altrusa International Foundation Chair.

  • “As a student who loves to read, the library is an important place to me. After the flooding in July, my school’s library was left completely empty with everything being destroyed. It is so exciting to think that… Read More

    Aidyn Conley, 6th Grader

Flood waters infiltrate the library

The library was gutted to remove damaged furniture, books, and media

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