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Plastic storage containers are like gold in tornado-ravaged Greensburg.
At least that is what former Lawrence Mayor Marty Kennedy has heard. He plans to find out this weekend by hauling to Greensburg as many containers as he can fit in his truck and trailer.
"They might be able to find the family photo album or something else, but they don't have anything to put it in," Kennedy said of residents rummaging through the debris. "It may be two blocks away when they find it, but it would be nice if they could save it."
Kennedy, the general manager of Kennedy Glass, is asking Lawrence residents to donate containers - the big weatherproof kind with lids. People can drop them off through noon Friday at the Kennedy Glass offices, 730 N.J. The offices are open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Kennedy and his wife, Patty, have a long history with Greensburg. The couple has been frequent visitors to the town of about 1,600 for almost 30 years. Patty's brother - former Lawrence resident Jack Kuhn - operated a ranch near Greensburg until he died last year.
Patty's sister-in-law and nephew live on the ranch, which was not damaged by the storm.
"We have been visiting with her every day since it has happened," Patty Kennedy said. "We kept asking her what we could do."
The surprising response: plastic containers. Patty Kennedy said her sister-in-law reports that there are so few buildings remaining in the area that finding a dry place to store found items is difficult.
Perry resident Monica Foltz - who is the sister of Kennedy's sister-in-law - took out 100 containers earlier this week, and they were gone in five minutes, Patty Kennedy said.
"The Red Cross and everybody is doing a great job of supplying them with food and toiletries and those sorts of things, but this is an example of something that people don't think about," Patty Kennedy said.
The Kennedys hope to gather at least 200 containers to deliver to the town. Using the company's truck and trailer will make getting there easy. The hard part, Patty Kennedy said, will be seeing the town.
"I just know that I'm going to lose it," Patty Kennedy said. "I've been going out there for 29 years. It was just such a nice little town."
How to help greensburg tornado survivors
Those interested in helping the tornado survivors in Greensburg have several options:
¢ Donate cash to the American Red Cross at 800-REDCROSS or at www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html. Peoples Bank locations in Douglas, Johnson, Miami and Franklin counties also will be collection points for cash donations to the Red Cross. The bank also will make a $2,500 donation to the Red Cross.
¢ Donate cash to The Salvation Army at 800-SAL-ARMY or at www.salvationarmyusa.org and click "donate."
¢ Donate supplies to Lawrence-based Starving Artists Moving at 749-5073, or visit the drop-off site at Checkers, 2300 La.
¢ Pizza Huts across Kansas today will donate 20 percent of profits to the United Way Greensburg Disaster Fund.
¢ The Kansas University Alumni Association is accepting donations in front of the Adams Alumni Center, 1266 Oread Ave. The group plans to accept donations through the Green for Greensburg campaign until May 20.
¢ The Lawrence Arts Center is having a benefit, which includes music and comedy acts, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 19 at the center, 940 N.H. The cost is $5.
¢ The Haviland Friends Church has set up an account to help Greensburg residents. Checks should be made payable to the Greensburg Relief Fund and sent to Haviland State Bank, P.O. Box 348, Haviland 67059. For more information, call the bank at (620) 862-5222.
¢ First Christian Church of Lawrence will be a collection point for Greensburg Care kits. Heart to Heart International will collect and deliver kits to victims in the Greensburg area. Kits can be dropped off at 1000 Ky. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Each kit should include a new hand towel; a new washcloth; a wide-tooth comb; a small bottle of shampoo; a new individually wrapped toothbrush; a travel size tube of toothpaste; 10 adhesive bandages; a bar of soap; a plastic travel-size soap dish; and two, one-gallon zipper-seal bags.