Dec. 27—LIMA — Kathy Thompson watched media reports earlier this month about tornadoes that struck the Midwest and felt moved to do something to help.
"I was very overwhelmed, very sad. I have a lot of family down there," Thompson said. "Fortunately, they were not affected by it, but it made me think of everyone out there who was."
The tornadoes hit Dec. 10 and killed 76 people in Kentucky.
The hardest-hit area was Mayfield, Kentucky, where much of the city was destroyed after an EF-4 tornado struck there.
Thousands of people became homeless in an instant, leaving them only with the clothes on their backs.
On Sunday, Lima area residents helped by filling a bus, parked at Westwood Entertainment Center.
People could donate non-perishable food, cleaning products, bottled water, non-prescription medications, hygiene products, underwear, coats and new toys.
Jerry Howe, from Bluffton, dropped off several items to help fill the bus.
"It's part of the spirit of Christmas and giving," Howe said."We feel for them."
Kenneth Miller, from just north of Lima, dropped off a couple of totes full of clothes and coats, canned goods and bottled water.
"I think anytime something like this happens, it doesn't matter where you're at, the community comes out. It's just a good thing," Miller said.
People came from all over to help fill the bus.
"We had people from Defiance, Bluffton, Wapak, and so it's turned out way more than what I would have ever expected," Thompson said.
They were planning to accept items from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday, but people started showing up at noon. Within an hour, the bus was filled.
"I'm very thankful for everybody and my helpers and for MTS trucking, who has given us the semi and Miss Sonya, who's going to drive it down," Thompson said.
Thompson said they hope to deliver the items to Kentucky by mid to late this week, depending on what storage is available.
"There's a lot of little towns that have lost everything also, and people are just now coming out like, 'we need this,' so it's a daily thing to see where they want to put everything," Thompson said.