Jennifer Garner Brings Aid to Eastern Kentucky During Tour Of Flood-Ravaged Communities

The actress is helping Save the Children provide much needed aid to the kids of eastern Kentucky.

Jennifer Garner
Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner paused work on a movie over the weekend to help the rural eastern Kentucky communities devastated by recent flash floods.

The actress, who is a trustee with a charity organization called Save the Children, joined Today correspondent Cynthia McFadden for a tour of an elementary school in Perry County that was declared a "total loss."

Cameras rolled as Garner waded through several inches of mud and water inside Robinson Elementary School, where about eight feet of water filled the halls for three days.

"I have to get my eyes on that library," Garner said as McFadden noted that Save the Children helped fund the school's library. "My little elementary school library totally shaped my life. I wanted to be a school librarian, I wanted to work in a library space just like this."

The 13 Going on 30 star praised the residents of the area, describing those she'd met as "strong" with "incredible intelligence," work ethic, and nobility.

"They just wanted to tell us over and over again how the community had come together to help them, how they hadn't had to hire help, how people had come to muck out their houses," Garner said. "They were inundated with family and friends."

Torrential rains pummeled eastern Kentucky in late July, resulting in catastrophic flooding in Hazard, Jackson, Garrett, Salyersville, Booneville, Whitesburg, and Perry County. Bridges and roadways crumbled, rendering entire communities unreachable. At least 37 deaths have been reported and hundreds remain unaccounted for.

Garner stressed that the people of eastern Kentucky still need help.

"They need basic necessities," she told McFadden. "They need water, they need somewhere to live, they need schools to be up and running. These kids need to go to school."

Jeremy Soulliere, a spokesperson for Save the Children, told Louisville Courier Journal that the organization is working to "meet children, families, schools, and communities' most immediate and long-term needs."

"Save the Children staff are distributing essential items—including water, hygiene kits, diapers, wipes, cribs, and cleaning supplies for schools—and helping deliver critical meals to affected families living in the hardest to reach places following the flooding," the group said in a release. "The global humanitarian organization is also providing art activity kits, games and toys to kids in area shelters—so they can have a moment to be kids again during this difficult time—and identifying kids' short- and long-term needs as this emergency persists."

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