LTR group gets grants

At one of the early Long-Term Recovery meetings that followed Hurricane Michael, members of a Mennonite services organization listen as a local woman, at left, discusses a need she is aware of in the community.

Two groups, the American Red Cross and the Volunteer Florida Foundation, have recently awarded grants to the North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group (LTR), which serves Jackson and Calhoun counties.

The American Red Cross grant was for $50,000. The LTR and 11 other entities shared various amounts from a grand total of $1.5 million. The money was earmarked to support an executive director position, boost community outreach, and assist with home repair projects, according to a press release about the donation.

LTR Executive Director Kristy Terry further detailed the use.

In addition to helping cover some staffing, it will be used in outreach efforts to potential clients, volunteers, and donors, and some home repair projects, she said.

From VFF, the recovery team, which serves Jackson and Calhoun counties, received $110,000 to help with ongoing Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.

The award was part of a recently announced Volunteer Florida Foundation grant program of $6.65 million in Florida Disaster Fund grants for organizations engaged in Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael long-term recovery efforts. The Volunteer Florida Foundation will distribute $3.85 million to nine organizations engaged in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts and $2.79 million to ten organizations engaged in Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.

North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery’s grant of $110,000 will allow the organization to hire project/volunteer coordinators who will help survivors achieve recovery.

“As the leader of the state’s agency on volunteerism and service, I have seen firsthand how the impacts of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael are still being felt in our communities,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram. “Today, I am thrilled to announce additional funding from the Volunteer Florida Foundation which will continue to support long-term recovery across the state.” These grants were awarded through a competitive application process.

The American Red Cross grant was part of a roughly $1.5 million dollar program involving 12 recipients, to fund community-based recovery services. The money went to established non-profits and faith-based groups to help hurricane-damaged communities address the needs of their most vulnerable residents.

The Red Cross selected projects from organizations with a strong track record of providing services in home repair and other recovery services, a news release stated.

The NFLTRG Chairman Kevin Yoder, in a press release praised the people who serve on that body and help ensure the best use of funding such as this. “In these unusual times, I am so proud of the leaders in our communities,” Yoder said.

“As we have learned from our experience with Hurricane Michael, during times of crisis leaders are revealed. And those leaders are not necessarily the ones with a title, they are the ones who through their acts of service and their communication of a preferred vision, mobilize people to action. Many of our local partner organizations have shown exemplary leadership, and our communities are better equipped because of your servant leadership. Recently, we welcomed to our board of directors, Coba Beasley. Coba has been involved in our recovery efforts from the very beginning and has proved to be a valuable partner. We look forward to his perspective and involvement at the board level. Our recovery from Hurricane Michael is not finished, and we together are committed to finish the work we have started.”

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org.

Volunteer Florida (officially recognized as the Florida Commission on Community Service) receives over $43 million in federal and state funding to support efforts to expand national service, promote disaster resiliency and advocate for volunteerism in Florida. The agency is guided by a bipartisan board of Commissioners, who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate.

In 1994, Volunteer Florida was established to administer national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, throughout the state. After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, Volunteer Florida evolved to serve as the state’s lead agency for mobilizing volunteers and coordinating donations before, during and after disasters. The Volunteer Florida Foundation also manages the Florida Disaster Fund, the official fund for aiding Florida’s communities after disasters. Volunteer Florida exists to endorse volunteerism as a solution to critical issues in Florida. The agency hosts annual community service projects (i.e. Suits for Session) and manages Florida’s official volunteer opportunities platform, Volunteer Connect.

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