More than a month after a string of tornadoes caused catastrophic damage, Butler County organizations are continuing to raise funds and provide aid to the Dayton area, which officials say underlines the support needed from throughout the region after such an event.
The Butler County EMA and Sheriff’s Office aided emergency crews, and community groups and municipalities pitched in to donate items. The city of Hamilton donated all of its city bottled water on hand, and about 40 members of the Miami University football team and coaching staff aided with cleanup.
The county continues to help the Dayton area, which is still trying to recover from the devastation.
PHOTO GALLERY: Tornado outbreak in Miami Valley
“We’re in close communication with (The Dayton Foodbank) in assessing the need,” said Terry Perdue, executive director of the Shared Harvest Foodbank in Fairfield.
Shared Harvest Foodbank arranged to have two truckloads of food sent to The Dayton Foodbank, one about three weeks ago and a second about 10 days ago.
Also, last Saturday, Shared Harvest arranged a pop-up pantry at the Miami County Veterans Services Building in Troy where a crew distributed boxes of frozen and dry product for those impacted by the May tornadoes.
“Our network is very efficient and supportive of one another,” Perdue said. “We pull together resources, as we see us as one large community that works together.”
The Fairfield Food Pantry also supported the tornado victims. Pantry trustees approved a $1,000 donation to The Foodbank in memory of Nancye Graeser, a pantry “angel” who recently died. The funds will help cover the cost of providing food and other necessary supplies to those affected by the tornadoes, said Judy Dirkson, trustee and co-founder of the pantry
“Nancye would be so pleased to know her kindness and generosity to us is being shared in this way,” she said.
Nearly 100 Panera Bread locations across southwest and central Ohio, the Miami Valley, and Northern Kentucky participated in the “Chip In for Dayton” fundraising campaign, which resulted in a $50,000 contribution to the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund at The Dayton Foundation.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency following the tornado strikes, and President Donald Trump declared a disaster area, allowing the region to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency money.
Lora Davenport, The Foodbank Advocacy and Programs manager, said the Shared Harvest and Fairfield Food Pantry donations are needed, especially because full recovery from the tornadoes could take some families a few years.
“We’re treating this like a marathon,” she said. “For at least a couple of years to come, we expect to still see people who’ve been affected by the tornadoes.”
Support has come from far across the state and outside the state, Davenport said.
“It’s been a rough month for a lot of people in the area, but it’s really made us proud to be living in a community where everyone comes together and supports each other,” she said. “And our neighbors aren’t just living next door; they’re across the state.”
Davenport said they’re “thankful” for Shared Harvest’s recent, and on-going, support. They’re also happy to have the Fairfield Food Pantry “go out of their way to help those who may not be out their back door. It means a lot to use, and it means a lot to the Dayton area.”
HOW TO HELP
The Dayton Foundation: The foundation created the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund and contributions can be mailed to The Dayton Foundation, 40 N. Main Street, Suite 500, Dayton, Ohio 45423 or made online at www.daytonfoundation.org/disasterrelief.html.
The Dayton Foodbank: Financial donations, can be mailed to 56 Armor Place, Dayton, Ohio 45423 or online at thefoodbankdayton.org/donate.
The American Red Cross: Make a $10 donation by visiting RedCross.org, calling 1-800-REDCROSS or texting the word “RedCROSS” to 90999.
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