Archived Story

Organizations combine forces for good in wake of disaster

Published 5:47pm Thursday, January 16, 2014

Over 2 million dollars in funds have been locally allocated to families who survived the April 2011 tornadoes thanks to the Northwest Alabama Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) group, its subcommittee the Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC), and dozens of groups and individuals.

The Northwest Alabama VOAD consists of a variety of organizations across the counties of Lauderdale, Franklin, Colbert, Winston and Marion whose mission is to provide streamlined and efficient service to people affected by disaster.

For the past two years, the working arm of VOAD, the Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC), co-chaired by Donna Fisher and Major Jean Wilson, has been rebuilding and repairing homes, finding volunteer labor, gathering and allocating grant and donation money as well as coordinating donated items including furniture and appliances to families in need.

To date VOAD and LTRC have rebuilt 56 homes, supplied 18 brand new mobile homes, and repaired nearly 450 storm-damaged homes.

A true feat within itself, the group also organized 15,722 volunteers from across the country to help in the recovery effort and allocated $2,060,112 of grant and donated funds.

Besides rebuilding and repairing homes, the organization helped over 350 people receive furniture and new appliances through The Salvation Army of the Shoals.

The organization would like to thank their major donors and workgroups including: The Salvation Army of the Shoals, the United Way of Northwest Alabama, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Family Services, Sheffield First Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Christian Aid Ministries, LOWE’S of Muscle Shoals, Rowe’s Hardware, Faith Church, the American Red Cross, Americorp-VISTA and the dozens of other organizations that comprise VOAD and the LTRC.

Organizations, especially from Franklin, Marion and Winston Counties, who are interested in becoming VOAD members are encouraged to attend the next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army located at 1601 Huntsville Rd. in Florence. This meeting the group will begin evaluating the positives and negatives in preparation for the next disaster.

Feel free to visit the Northwest Alabama VOAD (NWALVOAD) Facebook page for information as well.

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