Press Release on June 2nd 2009:
June 5, 2009
Committee Works to
Plan and Coordinate
Coordinating the volunteers, donations, grants, and other resources directed to local residence who survived the April 9th tornado will be the job of the newly formed Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee (PCLTRC).
“Even with the overwhelming help Polk County residents have given victims of the April 9 tornado, there are enormous needs that will take months, if not years, to meet,” says Keith Rose, Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church and Vice President of Rose Aircraft Services.
“At the request of FEMA and with their help, a group of churches, voluntary agencies, governmental agencies at all levels, businesses and service organizations have come together to plan an coordinate long-term recovery work.”
According to Rose, the committee’s primary function is found in the mission statement. Mission Statement: The mission of the Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee (PCLTRC) is to strengthen area wide disaster coordination through information sharing, simplifying the access to available resources for individuals and families, and jointly resolving cases with unmet needs from natural disasters.
To complete its mission the PCLTRC will:
Provide coordinated management of the long term recovery for natural disasters.
Provide additional long-term assistance to individuals affected by the disasters who do not have adequate personal resources for basic needs as a result of the recent disasters.
Advocate for ongoing preparedness within the faith community and cooperation with governmental and voluntary agencies active in the disasters.
“We want to work with organizations and individuals to make sure as many families as possible are helped. And we want to avoid situations where churches and other organizations duplicate each other’s assistance. By collaborating and pooling the money, material, and man power we can make our resources go a lot further.”
“We’ll need lots of help,” Rose said, “because the need is enormous. We need help with construction, construction materials, money, in-kind donations, volunteers to help with the committee’s work, and housing for volunteers who come in to help from outside the community.”
“We are grateful for the unprecedented cooperation of practically every community, government, and church organization.”
Rose says that the committee is still in its early stages, but is starting to process calls for assistance. People who need help are strongly encouraged to first register with FEMA and SBA. Survivors may apply in person for the SBA at Mena Fire Station #1, 603 DeQueen St. Survivors may register for FEMA at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. The deadline for FEMA registration is June 26th.
Once the FEMA process is complete, people still needing help should call 479-394-3534. Volunteers will be happy to assist survivors in finding help for their needs.
Volunteers and organizations wanting to participate in the recovery effort, and those who want to donate money or materials to the effort should call 479-394-3534 and leave a message.
To do its work efficiently, the Recovery Committee has delegated specific tasks to six subcommittees:
Case Management chaired by Jennifer Brewer (479-216-3677) will qualify clients for committee services and refer clients to organizations who can meet the needs.
Construction Coordination chaired by James Earl Turner (479-394-3686) will plan and manage reconstruction projects.
Volunteer Coordination chaired by Don Kelley (479-243-5885) will match volunteer skills with project needs.
Community Assessment chaired by Alicia Terrell (479-394-2551) will assess community needs and refer clients with unmet needs to the Case Management Committee. Community Assessment Committee is currently preparing an area wide assessment to reevaluate and ascertain the survivors’ current needs June 22-July 1.
Crisis Support Services chaired by Victor Rowell (479-243-7395) will work with victims to meet emotional needs.
Finance chaired by Pete Chambers (479-243-0781) will search for funding and in-kind donations.
In describing the Committee’s activities, Rose noted that it is not asking organizations who have collected disaster relief funds to release control of those funds. “What would be ideal,” Rose says, “is for organizations to refer applicants to us. We can then screen them to make sure they’ve registered with FEMA and SBA and exactly determine their unmet need.”
“We also would like organizations with funds to consider coming along side the LTRC in meeting needs of cases we develop. Together, we can do so much more.”
Rose also noted that the community and national agencies have really come together to work on the long term recovery effort. Organizations involved include:
First Assembly of God
St. Agnes Catholic Church
Cove 1st Baptist
Wickes 1st Baptist Church
Dallas Avenue Baptist Church
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Adventist Disaster Relief
Mena First Baptist Church
Ouachita Baptist Association
Mennonite Disaster Services
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Rich Mountain Community College
Mena Public Schools
First National Bank of Mena
Union Bank of Mena
City of Mena
Polk County Office of Emergency Management
West Ark Guidance and Counseling
Church World Services
Rose invited any organization interested in helping to join the committee.