Disaster Relief Doesn’t End When the News Moves On

Can you name all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires of the past season? Thank G-d, many barely reach our radars – or the hurricane storm tracker radar – but others are remembered, with relief efforts continuing, for many years to come. 

When disasters make the news and are fresh in our memories, the collective conscious and conscience, donations pour in, but often don't reach all those in need, and are just a start of all the funds required to rebuild towns, cities and countries, long after the reporters and most volunteers have packed up and gone home.

Grants for disaster relief can be found on GrantWatch.com. Here are three of them:

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, Tribes, and IHEs to 
Support Volunteer Staff Providing Community Services, 1/30/19

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribes, and IHEs to support volunteer staff members carrying out a broad range of community services. National applicants must consult with state commissions prior to applying. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take at least three to four weeks to complete. 

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Agencies in Eligible Counties 
to Assist Individuals Affected by Hurricane Maria, 12/28/18.

Grants to New York nonprofit community organizations and government agencies in eligible communities to assist individuals who have migrated from Puerto Rico or are unemployed or underemployed due to Hurricane Maria. Funding is intended to provide job readiness and career development services, outreach and enrollment activities, employment access, follow-up services, and supportive services to the target population.

Grants to USA School Libraries in Multiple States to Recover from Natural Disasters, Ongoing

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to USA public school libraries in multiple states that have been affected by a natural disaster. Funding is available to help libraries in PreK-12 schools replace and restore collections, equipment, and media. In addition to the regular grants program, a limited number of catastrophic grants of $50,000 will be issued to schools that have experienced significant damage or loss of library materials.

For over a year, Arkansas Pass citizens have been hard at work rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey destroyed their homes, businesses and public buildings. Harvey wasn’t expected to cause such devastation to this coastal bend Texas town, over 20 miles from Corpus Christi. Nevertheless, Landmark Apostolic Pentecostal Church lost their building, which housed the sanctuary, offices, a day care center and gymnasium. They canceled church the Sunday the hurricane hit but were back to preach and commune together the next Sunday, just six days later. Pastor William Riley said, “We were getting ready to add on to the building, so we had some money saved dedicated for that, but instead, it’s been used to clean up the site, demolish the building, and rent a tent, so we could continue to meet right away.”

“It was amazing to see the military presence, army, troopers, police and national guard came. There was no power for two to three weeks. We had to drive 20 to 30 miles to Corpus Christi to get any provisions we needed like food and gas." 

"We just pushed forward. Singing, playing music, preaching, when we’re in that tent you can hear us for a country mile.”

“The office was blown apart. Paper work was all gone. The storm surge came in and around from the back side of the property and destroyed it all.”

They’ve had church in a tent for over a year now, in makeshift accommodations. The gymnasium, 'phase one' in their recovery efforts, is due to be completed. “We’re putting in 10 to 18 hours a day to finish phase one. We still need light fixtures, electrical, framing, sheetrock, metal studs, insulation and such.”

Next, they’ll get to work on the Lighthouse Learning Center Day Care and finally on a new sanctuary and offices, but the money’s already run out. They’ve gotten some donations, but most of their community was so hard hit their members need help themselves.

Apparently, since Hurricane Rita, all the big insurance companies dropped wind and storm damage coverage. The policy they got through the state, only covered half the value of the property plus all the repairs, when the insurance payment finally came through. They got a loan from SBA and met with 5-6 FEMA representatives. "They didn’t give us anything, even though we had a day care.  I’d have to hire a full-time staff just to get through the re-tape and requirements they set. It was just not workable.  We paid for everything out of our savings and the associate pastor, my family and I have been doing all the work ourselves.”  People were out of work, many businesses were destroyed including Riley’s own, supplying dump-trucks, back hoes, tools and heavy equipment. It all got salt water damage. 

The day care, which should be back up and running in January, should generate some income and bring a few jobs back to the community, but they don’t know where the rest of the funding will come from, so they’ve started looking for grants.   

In the past the Florida Irma Emergency Flood Relief Fund raised money on YouHelp.com. Let's Build 100 Homes in Puerto Rico and the citizens of  South West Georgia have current crowdfunding campaigns on YouHelp. There communities were some of the hardest hit by hurricanes. Many have lost everything, but all have been dramatically affected by lack of access to food, water, and power. Donations help provide much needed supplies to children and families to their fulfill basic needs. 

Find grants on GrantWatch.com for disaster relief and a host of other categories, or  Donate to Disaster  Assistance campaigns on YouHelp.com.

About the Author: The author is a staff writer at GrantWatch.

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