Special Report United Way Responds to Hurricane Katrina
The United Way mission is to mobilize the caring power of communities . In light of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, that mission is now even more poignant and reminds us all what really matters family, home, safety and security.
This September 10th Dayton Daily News editorial (note: free registration required) and the information in this special report both underscore the importance of the United Way infrastructure in times of disaster at the national, local, or even individual level. I hope you will take a minute to read it, and share it with others to encourage generous giving to our local United Way Campaign.
Our Local United Way Network
Your support of the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area helped ensure a response system was in place. The relief efforts are an excellent example of the Community Capacity priority area at work . Through the Community Solutions Fund, our local United Way is providing more than $1.8 million to agencies involved in response efforts either at the local or national level, including $575,500 to the American Red Cross, Dayton Area Chapter for Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response. These vital funds help our local Red Cross not only respond to local disasters like fires, floods, and tornadoes, but also ensure the chapter can provide volunteers, supplies, and any other necessary resources to assist with a national disaster such as Katrina.
As of September 9 th , our local Red Cross chapter had provided the following services in the wake of the hurricane:
" Helped 139 evacuees with funds to cover food, clothing, and medications as well as assistance with lodging.
" Deployed 19 volunteers to the hurricane sites one of the largest contingents from Ohio .
" Began training 250 new national disaster volunteers.
This equation is multiplied several times through funding to other Partner Agencies such as the Salvation Army, Catholic Social Services, and The Foodbank who, with our local assistance, have the capacity to aid the response and recovery efforts through their national networks. Family Service Association has already seen one client from the affected area and will be counseling relief workers upon their return from the devastation. The Dayton Urban League has helped an evacuee obtain transportation. These are just a few of the many examples that have taken place and will take place for many months to come.
Your local United Way is also working with local government officials, churches, and nonprofit organizations to provide long-term housing, medical care, and support services for additional evacuees if needed.
Role of the United Way System
To help the families and individuals displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the United Way movement is focusing its disaster recovery efforts in three key areas:
" Assessing the needs and resources of communities that have opened their hearts and homes to displaced individuals and families, working in partnership with local governments, service providers, faith-based organizations, schools, and other community organizations.
" Helping displaced individuals and families by coordinating the services they need such as housing, child care, transportation, healthcare, education programs, job training, mental health counseling, and social services.
" Connecting people in need with the services that can help them begin to heal through 2-1-1 information and referral.
The United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund will be used for economic redevelopment, providing social services, and investing in human capital. Aid will be provided through local United Ways to rebuild lives and communities from the ground up.
Ripple Effect Causes Local Burden
We've all felt the pinch at the gas station, but United Way Partner Agencies are feeling it the most. Meals-on-Wheels and transportation for the elderly and disabled are just a few examples of program budgets being severely impacted. The newspaper warns of a major price in heating this winter. That means more of our working poor families living on the edge will have to turn to United Way services for help.
In addition, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area will not charge any administrative fees to handle Hurricane Katrina Response Funds gifts. Expenses will have to be covered in our already lean operating budget.
Generous Support Urgently Needed
United Way greatly appreciates the outpouring of caring support in the wake of the tragedy. Annual gifts to the local United Way campaigns are more critical than ever to ensure the continuity of services for victims of the hurricane and all of our neighbors in need. We encourage people to make additional special gifts, over and above their annual gift to the United Way to help with the response and recovery efforts.
Marc R. Levy