|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 13, 2018
Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida announced the first round of Florida Disaster Fund grants will be awarded to 17 organizations that are engaged in Hurricane Michael response and recovery efforts. Each organization will receive $25,000 ($425,000 in total) to assist with urgent activities, such as tarping and roof repairs, as well as long-term rebuilding.
Governor Scott said, “The Florida Disaster Fund was designed specifically to give community organizations the ability to help families after disasters, allowing Floridians to concentrate on recovery. We are grateful for the generous donors – individuals, groups and corporations – who continue to make that possible. We will never stop working to help families recover from Hurricane Michael.”
The Florida Disaster Fund, administered by the Volunteer Florida Foundation, is the state’s official fund for aiding communities after disasters. On October 10, Governor Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund in response to Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm that produced rampant flooding and 100 mile-per-hour winds.
Since then, the Volunteer Florida Foundation has raised over $5 million to be distributed to partner organizations serving in the Florida Panhandle. This is the first round of funding, but additional grants will be announced as they are awarded.
Volunteer Florida CEO, David Mica, Jr., said, “Volunteer Florida is proud to award these grants to our qualified, trusted partners. Most have been on the ground since Hurricane Michael hit, working tirelessly to contribute to the nearly 707,660 hours of volunteer service that have been reported in the last few months.”
During disaster response, many of these organizations participate in sheltering, debris cleanup and tree removal, tarping and roof repairs, mucking out and gutting of homes and distribution of water, food and other supplies.
In the following months and even years, some organizations begin to repair and rebuild homes, schools and whole communities. Others participate in individual case management, which includes connecting Hurricane Michael victims to local resources and helping them apply for federal assistance.
“We’ve been helping families affected by Hurricane Michael since before the storm hit, and we’ll continue to help, as the road to recovery will be long. So far, our response includes distributing 605,723 meals and 858,462 snacks, as well as 176,000 emergency supplies, like clean-up kits and tarps, shovels and rakes,” said Sharon Council Tyler, Executive Director of the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. “As we move from response to recovery, this grant will allow us to determine the gaps in our clients’ recovery plans and find resources to solve those problems.”
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, we have helped families in Jackson County with debris clean-up, tree removal and emergency home repairs,” said Carmen Smith, Executive Director of Chipola Area Habitat for Humanity. “Prior to the storm, the need for safe, decent and affordable housing was high, but now, with over 2,000 more residences deemed uninhabitable, it’s a community-wide priority. This grant enables us to expand our services to meet that demand.”
“Our team was on the ground within days of Hurricane Michael’s landfall, and we’ve been helping the residents of Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties ever since. To date, our AmeriCorps members and volunteers have served over 4,800 hours, mucked and gutted 39 homes and trained 12 other organizations throughout the affected areas,” said Mark Smith, Advisory Services Manager for SBP, Inc. “This grant will allow us to help many more families impacted by this devastating storm.”
The following organizations have been awarded the first round of Florida Disaster Fund grants:
Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church
Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida
Florida Coalition for Children Foundation
Florida Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Network
Goodwill Industries of the Big Bend
Habitat for Humanity of Florida (Chipola Area)
Habitat for Humanity of Florida (Bay County)
Hearts & Hands Disaster Recovery
International Orthodox Christian Charities
Presbyterian Social Ministries
The Eagles Wings Foundation, Inc.
Established in accordance with Section 14.29 (9), Florida Statutes, the Volunteer Florida Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. The Florida Disaster Fund, administered by the Volunteer Florida Foundation, was established in 2004 to fulfill needs unmet by other disaster relief organizations.