Help Hurricane Recovery – Saturdays in October

You can help with hurricane recovery efforts.  Collections will be taken in front of the City Building on the square each Saturday in October, starting on October 7, from Noon till 2 PM.

Our hearts were touched by the harrowing scenes of destruction from the hurricanes by millions in the last month.  Heroic rescue efforts saved many lives.  Many of us have already responded generously to provide much needed immediate relief. Our fellow citizens in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico are now entering the harrowing and exhausting time of recovery.  And though Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria hit rich and poor alike, rich and poor will not have equal opportunities for recovery in the months and years ahead. 

“In rich countries, the most vulnerable groups are still the ones who suffer the most in the aftermath of a natural disaster.”[1]  These vulnerable people include renters, those who are poor, those with disabilities, as well as immigrants who are here illegally.  For example, many low-income families simply cannot afford the serious costs of evacuating – gas, hotels, food etc.  Many families will be unable to rebuild or return to their homes.  Or if they do return, they will have to go back to work immediately and have no time or means of repairing their homes.  Many will end up displaced, in new communities or a different state, often where they have no job and no other family.

Knox County Citizen Action Network, in conjunction with Signs on the Square, is organizing this fundraiser.  Recognizing the need for long-term recovery, your donations will support existing community-based organizations that target people who are most at-risk.  We will be sending your donations to the following organizations.

Puerto Rico:  ConPRmetidos is an organization that is focused on getting support to local businesses and families by (1) working in coordination with ConnectRelief.com and the Puerto Rican National Guard to make an assessment of needs across the island, (2) providing structural repairs that are not covered by FEMA, and (3) finding energy solutions to power up the island as fast as possible. For more information about their initiatives and fund visit: www.conprmetidos.org

Texas/Houston:  SBP’s mission is to shrink time between disaster and recovery.  In Houston, SBP has already deployed a response team and their recovery work is underway.  They have registered close to 14,000 volunteers and assigned them to relief organizations.  They have directly assisted over 29,000 survivors by providing information.  They have trained 780 homeowners with information for speedy and safe recovery.  They have mucked and gutted 15 homes.  And more than 70,000 homeowners have electronically accessed their disaster resources information.  SBP’s model is greatly enhanced by AmeriCorps members from all over the country who serve as client case managers, volunteer coordinators and construction site supervisors, overseeing the labor of more than 25,000 volunteers annually at SBP operations around the U.S.  SBP is committed to supporting long-term recovery.  You can find more information at : http://sbpusa.org/where-we-help/harvey-recovery

Florida:  Hurricane Irma Community Recovery Fund: This fund will focus on recovery in Florida through an existing foundation and a variety of grassroots community organizations.  These organizations work with historically marginalized communities. Florida has over 3 million residents who live in poverty, and an estimated 850,000 undocumented immigrants across Florida may be fearful of accessing needed government resources due their immigration status.  Services will include basic needs such as housing, healthcare, transportation, legal representation and longer term organizing. To donate to Hurricane Irma Community Recovery Fund:  http://newfloridamajority.org/wp/get-involved/donate/irmacommunityrecoveryfund/

Together, we WILL make a difference! Come and share your generosity between Noon and 2 PM on October Saturdays on the Square in Mount Vernon.

[1] White, Gillian B., The Atlantic.  Aug.3, 2015.

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