United Way of the Wine Country announced March 4 the launch of the Sonoma County Flood Recovery and Wellness Fund to help flood survivors with their recovery.
All funds raised will be used to support flood relief through agency partners in the region, according to the agency’s press release.
“Once the damage has been assessed and the needs are clearer, UWWC will develop our funding strategy based on the amount of funding that we are able to secure,” said Jennifer O’Donnell, executive vice president. O’Donnell has been overseeing United Way’s fire-relief grants to individuals, neighborhoods and other strategic partners since 2017.
Sonoma County officials told the Press Democrat that last week’s storm caused an estimated $155 million in damage to homes, businesses, roads and other public infrastructure. Approximately 1,900 homes were affected, with major damage reported at 1,760; and flooding impacted 578 commercial buildings and businesses, including restaurants, pubs, resorts, stores and theaters.
“The extent of the recent flooding and its impact on families, especially low- and moderate-income families along the Russian River, Laguna de Santa Rosa, and small businesses in the region demand our attention,” said Lisa Carreño, president and CEO of the local United Way organization, in the announcement. “Every family and every business matters as we recover and rebuild from fire and flooding. We need to rally around them, because our recovery will be stronger if we can rebuild together.”
Karissa Kruse, United Way Board chairwoman and president of Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, said she hopes the community, just over a year after devastating North Bay wildfires, can "once again tap into the caring power of our community."
"We understand that there may be donor fatigue around what feels like yet another disaster, but that does not diminish the help that our neighbors need now,” Kruse said.
United Way of the Wine Country supports nonprofit organizations, businesses and government leaders in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Del Norte counties. For more information, visit www.unitedwaywinecountry.org.
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