Donation of tubs runneth over

Storage containers collected in Lawrence can hold belongings salvaged from rubble

To the residents of Greensburg, Lawrence may forever be known as the plastic tub town.

Former Lawrence Mayor Marty Kennedy and his wife, Patty, this weekend delivered 500 waterproof plastic storage tubs and lids that community members donated after the Kennedys put out the call for contributions last week.

“We had so many people say that they couldn’t believe that people from so far away care so much,” Patty Kennedy said.

The couple distributed the 500 tubs in less than three hours. A sister-in-law who lives in rural Greensburg had told them the tubs were needed because people lacked a weatherproof place to store small items they recovered from the debris.

“We just proceeded up and down the blocks, and when we saw people digging through their rubble – and trust me, that’s all that’s left out there – we would ask them if they needed plastic tubs,” Marty Kennedy said.

Patty Kennedy said Greensburg residents were in remarkably good spirits.

“I was feeling so sorry for them, but they definitely weren’t feeling sorry for themselves,” Patty Kennedy said. “They were moving forward.”

Patty Kennedy said one woman was reluctant to take the tubs.

“She told me that she didn’t know when she would be able to get them back to us,” Patty Kennedy said. “I just told her that wouldn’t be necessary.”

Both Marty and Patty Kennedy said the destruction at Greensburg – a town they have been traveling to for about 30 years to visit relatives – was worse than they had imagined.

“Just so many bulldozers and backhoes knocking down all the houses,” Marty Kennedy said. “The saddest one was to see the really big pieces of machinery knocking down all the businesses.”

“It just looked like each home had an individual bomb dropped on it,” Patty Kennedy said. “I was very shaken by the whole thing. I just can’t imagine not having anything.”

The Kennedys also said the response from the Lawrence community was a bit overwhelming. Marty Kennedy ended up renting a trailer to haul the tubs because the trailer he originally planned to use was too small.

Marty Kennedy, who used his family’s Kennedy Glass business in East Lawrence as a collection point, said donations poured in from all over town, and from the business community. Lawrence’s Berry Plastics donated 100 plastic containers and lids, Marty Kennedy said.

“We had to work pretty hard just to keep moving them out of the front office,” Marty Kennedy said.