Ravenna — Mission of Love, with help from Bob Crooks and Tom Kline, is sending a truckload of hope to residents of Bowling Green, Ky., which was among the towns hit by a serious tornado outbreak Dec. 11.
According to Kathy Price, founder of Mission of Love, there are around 4,000 newly homeless families in Bowling Green. On Tuesday, they’ll get a boost from a truckload of humanitarian goods driven down by Kline and Crooks, a driver for Centerra Co-op which is donating the truck and fuel for the trip.
“Kathy’s the organizer,” said Crooks. “We just of kind jumped into this. We ran into a bunch of [dead ends], and we were close to giving up when Tom ran into Kathy, and it just kind of fell together after that.”
Price said it’s people like Kline and Crooks who make these kinds of missions possible.
“It takes a lot of networking to get to the right people and fill the trailer up,” she said. “That takes a lot of hands and a lot of hearts. This is not just about one person.”
In all, she estimated about 200 people had a hand in sending the Centerra Co-op truck south with a load of food, clothing, mattresses and other basic needs.
On Monday, Crooks, Kline and Price traveled from a warehouse in Alliance where they picked up water to a warehouse at Camp Garfield where they added a variety of other basic necessities for Bowling Green families.
“We’re going to leave [Tuesday] morning at about 6 a.m.,” said Crooks. “We’re going to spend the night and come back.”
Kline said the timing was perfect to provide aid to Kentuckians.
“With Bob being on vacation, the timing was perfect,” he said. “I wanted to go to help with Katrina years ago, but the timing wasn’t right for me. I was able to take a week of vacation, and then Bob had the truck … everything just fell into place.”
Crooks said friends and family also pitched in on the effort.
“Everybody came together within four days, and we got 20 extra-large boxes of clothing and coats we’re loading up in this truck later today,” he said. “The clothing’s just as important as the bottled water.”
Price said Mission of Love focuses on giving aid to people facing crises around the world year-round.
“In October, we sent a trailer of humanitarian aid to Louisiana after Hurricane Ida,” she said, adding Mission of Love was also among the earliest contributors of aid following Hurricane Katrina in 2004, which inundated parts of Louisiana, including New Orleans.
Although Price said she’s able to coordinate supplies and pinpoint areas of need, volunteers are always needed to complete humanitarian missions.
“The bottom line is, everybody is born to give,” she said. “Everybody has passion and love, and if I can facilitate that through volunteers, I’m doing my job.”
Price also said she established a GoFundme page where people can contribute to helping Kentucky tornado survivors.
Those interested in learning more about Mission of Love may email Price at [email protected].