Actress Jennifer Garner took an unusual role on screen on Monday. She appeared on The Today Show to give a few updates on the emergency response to the floods in Kentucky over the last two weeks. Garner grew up near the area, and she is now a trustee with a charity organization called Save the Children, which is helping to get those communities back up and running.
Garner appeared live on Today and also in a recorded segment with correspondent Cynthia McFadden. The two toured an elementary school ravaged by floods, observing some of the worst damage done in the area. They also spoke to locals and described the situation on the ground. Floods have been sweeping through eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and West Virginia, as well as a few other parts of the country. So far, 37 people have been confirmed dead in the flooding, and the natural disaster has not even abated yet.
At least 37 people died following the devastating floods in Kentucky.— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 8, 2022
Actress Jennifer Garner and @CynthiaMcFadden join us on the ground to share the stories of the struggles people are facing. pic.twitter.com/a1zt9vtrDc
The Today Show encapsulated this struggle with a tour of Robinson Elementary School, where about eight feet of water flooded the building. The actress waded through several inches of mud and water with dangerous debris floating or drifting by.
"I have to get my eyes on that library," Garner said as McFadden noted that her organization, Save the Children, helped fund the library specifically. Garner continued: "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."
Garner reportedly paused work on a movie to fly over to the southeast and help with the disaster response. She described how personal her work with Save the Children is because of her own upbringing, even outside of this urgent emergency response. She also focused on the people she was aiding, commending their bravery in the face of such disaster.
The flash flooding was most severe in eastern Kentucky and the surrounding areas, but it stretched all the way to the southwest between July 27 and Aug. 2. It flooded the Las Vegas Strip and cities like Phoenix and Flagstaff, Arizona. It also ravaged the natural wonders preserved at Death Valley National Park.
The recovery from these disasters is expected to take time. Accounting for all the repairs and reconstruction needed for utilities and property, it may take years. There are many organizations trying to help with the recovery process, but those interested in Garner's Save the Children can find out more about their efforts here.