Overwhelmed by donations, Olathe firefighters make deliveries to Linwood tornado victims

LINWOOD, Kan. -- Relief efforts are in overdrive in Linwood.

The Olathe Fire Department offered their assistance Friday to deliver an overwhelming number of donations to victims and to see what more they need to recover.

"Can't put a number on it, but it's overwhelming," said Dan Tallman, fire chief of the Sherman Township Fire & Rescue. "We've actually asked that they stop with donations. We understand that they want to help, but we're kind of overwhelmed and we just ran out of space."

To get all the donations out to families in need, Olathe's Community Emergency Response Team loaded up and drove them out to people focused on picking up the pieces of their lives.

"As Olathe, and I think really any other fire department, if a neighboring community needs our help we're there always," firefighter Kyle Brower said.

The team checked on each home and brought whatever they can to help them get by.

"Everyone that we've met today has been really appreciative that we're out here. They said that the response around here has been great," Brower said.

Joni Friederich's home is unrecognizable, and though she didn't need much, she said the gift is a blessing.

"It has been an awesome gift to see what God can do with people's hearts who are touched to help people who are in trouble, so we're very thankful," Friederich said.

"I don't really have to say keep up hope because they have a lot of hope," Brower said. "I think it's just an encouraging word of I'm sorry for your loss, and being there to give them the supplies they need."

As they found through their day of deliveries, the smallest of gifts can create infinite gratitude.

"I want to thank them, and I want to thank everyone who's given from their heart to share with those in need," Friederich said. "There's hope to rebuild, and we've found much help along the way. We're very thankful."

To donate items, call 211 for a list of what's needed and where to go. Otherwise, relief agencies say cash donations are best.

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