Two tornadoes struck Central Louisiana on December 16, 2019, leaving destruction in their wake. Many homes were damaged or destroyed. In response, the United Way of Central Louisiana set up a special Tornado Response Fund to help with long-term recovery for families who need a helping hand to get back on their feet.
You can donate online using the "DONATE" button in the upper right corner of this screen, and just type "Tornado" in the Notes field. Or you can mail a check to the United Way office at 1101 Fourth Street, Suite 202, Alexandria LA 71301; write "Tornado" in the Memo field of the check.
Background Information: The Role of United Way in Disaster Response
Disaster response involves three phases:
- first response: get people to immediate safety
- cleanup: remove debris, clean homes of mud, place tarps on damaged roofs, etc.
- long-term recovery: get people back on their feet
Our tax dollars largely take care of the first phase through police, fire departments, and other government responders, though volunteers often pitch in too. Neighbors and nonprofit partners help with the second phase; organizations such as the United Methodist UMCOR, Southern Baptist disaster response teams, and others appeared here quickly and helped enormously, though more remains to be done. United Way 211 provided a way that families could call right away for assistance and report damage, even if they needed no direct assistance. This gave our community a better idea of the extent of the damage and what was needed, and it helps our parish government with reimbursement from federal disaster sources.
During disaster response, our United Way typically serves as a convener of nonprofits, government agencies, and congregations to help with the third phase of long-term recovery. Once insurance has come and gone, whether private or governmental, many families are left with unmet needs and need a helping hand to get back on their feet. That’s where your donations make a world of difference.
Our work is still going on, but in the first week after the tornado we had already provided assistance to 14 affected families. Our United Way quickly opened a special fund with $5,000 from our reserves plus private donations from Board members and staff. We have also distributed donated appliances, furniture, and other items as needed. We quickly convened local responders to help coordinate our community’s response, working with partners such as the American Red Cross, which provided immediate emergency assistance to 40 families. The Food Bank of Central Louisiana has also provided emergency food assistance wherever needed. The Office of Public Health provided tetanus shots to families and responders as needed – the work of cleanup can often occasion cuts and other injuries, and tetanus or other infections are a common concern.
We will continue this work until our help is no longer needed. Thanks for your contribution! We pledge to make it stretch to help as many as possible. For tax purposes I must state: you received no services or goods in exchange for your donation, which is tax-deductible.
You can follow our ongoing work on our Facebook page or on our website: www.uwcl.org. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on any aspect of our work. Thank you again for your generosity and concern.