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United Way of Hays County board chair KIM PORTERFIELD writes, “by working together in a transparent and collaborative manner, Hays and Caldwell counties will emerge from this natural disaster stronger and healthier.” 

EDITOR:

Some of your readers have asked in recent days where exactly the money donated to the United Way of Hays County Flood Recovery Fund has gone and will go.

flood of 2015 icon blueWith almost 1,500 housing units damaged or destroyed, dozens of businesses flooded, and a price tag of $34.7 million to repair or replace flood-damaged infrastructure and to clean up debris in Hays County as a result of the Memorial Day weekend flooding, United Way of Hays County is being a good steward of donations, ensuring that the funds fill unmet needs, do not duplicate services and support well-vetted efforts.

United Way is completely transparent about the dollars that have been donated on behalf of our friends and neighbors in need. As of July 9, $400,000 has been raised. In the first week after the flood, $30,000 of that was given out to Barnabas Connection, My Neighbor’s Keeper, Serve San Marcos, Southside Community Center and the Ministerial Alliance of Caldwell County to aid these organizations in their immediate disaster relief efforts.

United Way of Hays County also distributed thousands of dollars in donated H-E-B, Target and other gift cards to flood survivors in the days and weeks immediately following the flood. We are currently working with other non-profit organizations to distribute gift cards from McCoy’s Building Supply and H-E-B that were so generously donated in the past couple of weeks.

The United Way of Hays County staff and board of directors are reviewing applications from several non-profit organizations that are working directly with flood survivors to help them recover and rebuild their homes and lives.

Grants will be awarded in the coming weeks to organizations and an announcement will be made about who those dollars will be given to and what they will be used for. Non-profit organizations working on flood recovery are invited to visit the United Way of Hays County website or call 512-353-1420 to receive the grant application.

Finally, as requested by local and state officials, United Way of Hays County will be financially supporting the Blanco River Regional Recovery Team’s Unmet Needs Committee. These dollars will be combined with other non-profit dollars to directly aid families who need funds in addition to their FEMA and SBA dollars to finish rebuilding and return to their homes. The Regional Recovery Team is a part of the official state emergency program and is the stakeholder group leading the entire flood recovery effort.

As part of our initiative to assist with short-term needs and long-term rebuilding, United Way of Hays County is not taking any administrative or fundraising fee from the donated funds. Every dollar — 100 percent — donated to the Flood Recovery Fund will go right back into our communities in Hays and Caldwell counties to help our friends and neighbors recover from the floods. Our chief executive officer, Michelle Harper, is available to answer questions and provide more information-she can be reached at 512-353-1420 or by email here.

On behalf of the board of directors, staff and volunteers, I would like to thank each person and organization who has donated either time, talent or treasure, not to only United Way, but all of the organizations who are helping our communities recover from the Memorial Day weekend floods. Your generosity is simply overwhelming and much appreciated.

It truly takes a village, but we are confident that by working together in a transparent and collaborative manner, Hays and Caldwell counties will emerge from this natural disaster stronger and healthier.

KIM PORTERFIELD
San Marcos

PORTERFIELD chairs the United Way of Hays County board of directors. The San Marcos Mercury welcomes original letters to the editor about issues of public interest. Send letters through our contact page or email them to Editor & Publisher Brad Rollins.

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