WESTMINSTER -- On the one-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, the Rotary Districts serving Vermont will present a check to Southeastern Vermont Community Action to kick off the long-term Irene Recovery effort funded by a grant. The check will be given to SEVCA by representatives of the two districts at its Westminster office on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 10:30 a.m.
On May 8, Rotary International awarded a Rotary Foundation grant of $174,066 as a match to the $238,384 that was raised by local Rotary clubs and clubs from all over the world. The funds will be used to provide a total of $412,450 to aid Irene victims, in a second wave of assistance to residents impacted by the storm who are still dealing with the consequences of that massive natural disaster.
Soon after Irene hit, Janice McElroy, then District 7870 Governor for southern Vermont and New Hampshire, decided to apply for a matching grant to The Rotary Foundation to help with Vermont’s long-term recovery. Jan and Marilyn Bedell, then District 7850 Governor from northern Vermont and New Hampshire, sent out a solicitation letter to selected Rotary Districts and clubs. Thirteen districts responded with pledges of funds that Rotary International would match -- 10 from the U.S. and the others from Canada, South Africa, and Taiwan. Additional pledges came from individuals and 114 clubs from the U.S., Canada, and England.
They then approached SEVCA to act as the
"It made a lot of sense," said SEVCA’s Executive Director Stephen Geller. "The CAAs in Vermont were experienced at managing large grants like this and serving large numbers of people in need (over 63,000 last year), and we already had a network of disaster case managers on the ground working through very complex situations and helping victims get back on their feet."
SEVCA worked with McElroy on the needs assessment and the grant, using information collected by staff, FEMA, VT 2-1-1, and the Long-Term Recovery Committees.
"There have been relatively few Rotary International grants given in the U.S., and the size and scope of this one is particularly unusual," noted Geller. "We feel honored to have been given this rare opportunity."
The CAAs will serve as Rotary’s partner in this effort, screening and enrolling potential recipients and arranging for the delivery of needed assistance. Rotary members will refer people to the CAAs who could benefit from the services and will also provide volunteer services to people referred to them by the CAAs. Homeowners or renters of primary residences who have been affected by Irene through property damage or displacement may be eligible for assistance. Examples of Irene-related assistance that may be provided include short-term rent, fuel and utility assistance, furnaces and fuel tanks, appliance repair and replacement, well and septic system repairs, waste and debris removal, car repair and transportation assistance, service road and culvert repairs, and mold remediation.
For more information about the Rotary Grant Irene Assistance Program, contact the respective CAA contact in the following counties: Bennington and Rutland: Pam Shambo -- 802-665-1721; Lamoille, Orange & Washington: Tracy Collier -- 802-498-7375; Grand Isle, Franklin and Chittenden: Travis Poulin -- 802-863-6248 x736 or Karen Haury -- 802-388-2285; Orleans, Essex, & Caledonia: Jan Rossier (southern area) -- 802-748-6040, Kathy Metras (northern area) 802-334-7316 x204; Windham and Windsor: Mary Ann Wolf -- 802- 376-6570.