Local businesses, small farms encouraged to apply for Appalachia Rises flood relief grants

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MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ) – Appalachia Rises, which launched after recent historic flooding, has announced the opening of applications for flood relief grants for local businesses, small farms and non-profits. The opening of the grant application program for these organizations follows $250,000 in emergency grants being given to 500 families in need as they rebuild.

According to AppHarvest officials, eligible local businesses may request up to $5,000 in funding, and small farms may apply for grants of up to $1,500. Local non-profits in need are encouraged to reach out to the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and Blue Grass
Community Foundation, which are administering the grants programs.

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Applications can be completed HERE.

According to AppHarvest, to date, more than $500,000 in funding has been distributed to help those in need across 30 of Kentucky’s Appalachian counties. Among those helped was Hazard’s Rebecca Morton. The pressure from rising floodwaters ripped the floors and walls from her home, forcing her family to seek shelter elsewhere.

“We lost everything,” said Morton. “We were so worried. As soon as we got the grant, we went and bought all types of lumber and paneling to work with and started fixing our home.”

Community organizations like Clay County’s Stay in Clay, which received a $5,000 grant, have been vital in helping rebuild. “The flooding and mudslides wiped out so many of our homes,” said Vanda Rice of Stay in Clay, which provided food and building materials to families uprooted by the floods. “It took out not only dwellings but roads and driveways.
People couldn’t leave their homes to get the help they needed. Just like anyone would, the people who’ve been hit the hardest want to get back into their homes, but it’s a slow process. Donations like those from Appalachia Rises have been so essential.”

The historic flooding led to more than 50 Kentucky counties and communities declaring states of emergency. Residual effects, including mudslides, left many residents uprooted, and numerous essential businesses closed due to damage. Evacuations across the state drove thousands to overcrowded and underfunded shelters, while hospitals treated flood-related injuries alongside the ongoing pandemic. Compounding the difficulties, the unemployment rates in several affected counties are among Kentucky’s highest.

Launched by Morehead-based AgTech leader AppHarvest, the Appalachia Rises initiative united more than a half-dozen organizations in the days following the flooding.

“Seeing how so many so quickly have come together to help our friends and neighbors rebuild demonstrates again the faith and grit that define Eastern Kentucky,” said AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb. “Our region is home to the hardest working people in America, and they consistently rise to meet every challenge and move every obstacle created.”

Donations continue to be accepted HERE.

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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at ebivens@wtvq.com. Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!