United Way Tornado Relief Fund to granting $60k in aid to families, partners
Over $70k in supply donations received, distributed to the community
NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) Wednesday announced the first distributions from its Tornado Relief Fund – in partnership with WWL-TV Channel 4 – granting $60,425 in immediate aid to partners and affected families.
“In a matter of minutes after the Arabi tornado touched down, our team was already on the ground assessing needs and mobilizing to raise funds and collect supplies for the affected communities,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “Thanks to an outpouring of support from our caring neighbors – both far and wide – United Way has once again been able to respond at the speed of need, proving we are always here: before, during, and after the storm.”
The American Red Cross in Louisiana identified 74 households in Arabi and 5 in Roseland with substantial damage to their homes requiring major repairs or total rebuilds. UWSELA is providing $575 – an amount that does not trigger income tax reporting – to each family to aid in their immediate recovery.
According to the latest ALICE Report, more than 57% of households in Arabi and 74% in Roseland don’t earn enough to afford a basic household survival budget and are unable to save for an unexpected financial emergency, like a natural disaster. The supplemental grants from UWSELA will help the affected families kick-start their paths to recovery.
Eligible residents are also encouraged to apply for UWSELA’s Individual Development Account (IDA) Project, which provides matched savings assistance for home purchases or repairs.
Additionally, UWSELA will grant $5,000 each to Arabi Elementary School, the Community Center of St. Bernard, and the Reaching for the Stars Foundation, funding their efforts to serve their respective communities in the wake of the March tornadoes.
As of April 4, UWSELA’s Tornado Relief Fund raised $75,891 through nearly 600 online donors and generous partners, including including Entergy Corporation, Mignon Faget, Healthy Blue, Aetna, and AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana. The remaining funds will continue to support relief and volunteer efforts in the coming weeks.
UWSELA began collecting personal hygiene supplies and diapers 12 hours after the tornadic supercell moved over the region, and in only three days, received over $70,000 in material goods.
Staff and volunteers dispersed the supplies via a pop-up distribution at Aycock Barn on March 23, neighborhood canvassing in New Orleans East and Patricia Park on March 24 and a second pop-up at Arabi’s Celebration Church on March 27. UWSELA transported the reaming donations to the Community Center of St. Bernard and helped organize their storeroom for ease of distribution.
UWSELA is no longer accepting material donations, thanks to an overwhelming response from area residents.
To stay up to date on tornado relief efforts, visit UnitedWaySELA.org/TornadoRelief.
CALL 211 FOR HELP
Area residents may dial 211 to access up-to-date information and available recovery services from local partners and government agencies in their respective parishes. A toll-free call to 211 will connect individuals to a community resources specialist who will help pinpoint critical aid.
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For more than 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.