Country music star Sturgill Simpson creates flood relief fundraiser for eastern Kentucky

By Hayley Robb, Building Kentucky

When the flooding first hit eastern Kentucky last month, many people donated money, clothes, food and time to help the affected areas – including a famous Kentucky native, Grammy winner Sturgill Simpson.

Simpson is originally from Jackson, one of the main cities hit by the flooding. He launched a fundraising campaign on social media with all of the proceeds going directly to Aspire Appalachia, a Jackson-based non-profit organization.

“Some of those who lost everything did not have very much to lose to begin with and are now literally living in tent cities,” Simpson wrote in a March 9 Instagram post, which has now been deleted. “It goes without saying this is something weighing extremely heavy on my heart.”

Simpson Fans Support Kentucky Towns

After quickly reaching half of a million dollars, Simpson challenged his fans to not let off the gas and continue supporting the town so close to his heart.

Simpson is selling branded merchandise like T-shirts and sweatshirts to support the cause. The country star now has a pop-up letter on his website asking fans to support his hometown and all of the communities that were affected by the flooding.

The shirts celebrate some of Simpson’s favorite things in Jackson – including diner The White Flash and a topographical map of Panbowl Lake. To learn more about the fundraising campaign or to shop for charity merchandise, visit

Flood Damage In Eastern Kentucky

When heavy rains hit Kentucky last month, Breathitt County’s city of Jackson issued an evacuation order for those living near the Panbowl Lake dam. By the next day, water levels began to recede but the damage to the homes and displaced families was already done.

Most of the counties affected were in eastern Kentucky but the rainfall hit everywhere. Governor Andy Beshear recently announced that he plans to request a major disaster declaration from the federal government after receiving examination results from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA has completed damage assessments of over 2,100 homes in eastern Kentucky examining requests for federal support of individual assistance. As of April 1, FEMA is in the last phase of reviewing damage assessments for impacts to over 40 county infrastructures.

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