United Way of Northwest Florida dropped another $70,000 on local charitable organizations Thursday, bringing United Way’s current total to more than $500,000 in Hurricane Michael Relief Fund distributions across Jackson and the other affected counties in its coverage area since the storm occurred.
Chipola Family Ministries and Innovative Charities of Northwest Florida got $17,000 each this time around; the Wright Foundation received $15,000; the North Florida Inland Long Term Recovery Group got $5,000; Elder Care Services drew $1,000; the Salvation Army received $2,000; the American Red Cross received $7,000; and Second Harvest of the Big Bend was awarded $6,000.
United Way representatives Brian Taylor and Angela Klopf were guest speakers at Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch on Thursday, and presented the checks following that meeting.
During the session, Taylor and Klopf talked about the important role that the organization’s 2-1-1 call service has been since the storm for people seeking connection to a variety of needed services. The organization mans that line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More calls were received each day immediately following the hurricane than is normally logged in a month, Taylor said.
With many people in the room associated with those helping organizations Thursday, Taylor took the opportunity to remind them to stay diligent in updating their status so that callers won’t be mistakenly directed their way at a time when help is not immediately available for whatever reason, or so that call-takers are not left unaware of some new kind of assistance that a given organization might have gained since signing on as a participant.
UW of Northwest Florida had suspended its traditional fundraising campaign soon after the storm, concentrating almost solely on gathering money for storm relief. Taylor said the organization will be trying to re-start its normal annual campaign in the coming weeks via one of its most common efforts--encouraging businesses to make it possible through payroll deductions for their employees who wish to donate small amounts each payday toward the organization.