Emergency Disaster Declaration Triggers Release of Federal Funds for Katrina Assistance; Disaster Relief Fund Raiser Canceled Until Further Notice
A Presidential Emergency Declaration for the State of Maryland on September 13 has triggered the release of Federal funds to help communities respond to Hurricane Katrina. As a result, this declaration allows County and municipal governments, State agencies, and private non-profit agencies which have agreements with County and State agencies to recoup 100 percent of their costs associated with providing services to meet the emergency needs of Katrina victims within their communities, such as sheltering, food, and medical care.
Currently, programs provided by public and private agencies on the Federal, State, and local levels are meeting the immediate needs of the Katrina victims who have come through the County's clearinghouse within the Charles County Department of Social Services (DSS), said DSS Director Dr. Rebecca Bridgett. "We have served approximately 100 individuals through our programs or referred them to other State or County agencies for assistance, as we continue to work with our partners to achieve an unduplicated count," she said, "and track the Katrina victims in the community to assure that they are receiving the services they need or will require in the future."
The Charles County Disaster Relief Fund, which the County Commissioners recently reactivated to assist Katrina victims within the County, has a balance of approximately $34,000. Recently, the number of aid requests has slowed dramatically, Dr. Bridgett said, adding "that the donations that are coming in at this time are keeping pace with the expenses for Katrina victims that are not covered through other programs provided by public and private agencies on the Federal, State, and local levels."
Following this report, the County Commissioners have decided to postpone the fund-raiser planned in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and the Waldorf Jaycees on October 19 at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center for the benefit of the Disaster Fund until it is determined that resources and donations to the Disaster Relief Fund are no longer able to meet the needs of Katrina victims here in the County.
"Since unexpected Federal funds have been made available to assist us with Katrina victims, we did not want to overburden our businesses, organizations, and citizens who offer their support of the community when we call upon them," said Commissioner Candice Quinn Kelly. "Their generosity is graciously appreciated and reflects Charles County's compassion and willingness to help those in need."
Donations are still encouraged to the Charles County Disaster Relief Fund. Since the Fund is a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization, all contributions are tax-deductible. Administrative costs are absorbed by the County Government, and a five-member committee reviews and approves applications for assistance. Send contributions to: Charles County Disaster Relief Fund, Charles County Government Building, Attn: Department of Fiscal Services, P.O. Box 2150, La Plata, Maryland 20646.
"We want to ensure that Katrina victims receive the highest level of services and assistance possible, while at the same time the agencies and organizations who provide the services receive the support they need," said the County Commissioners. "We wish to thank everyone who has contributed thus far to the Fund, as well as the public and private agencies, our citizens, and our businesses who have welcomed and assisted the Katrina victims who have come to Charles County."