NEWBURGH, Ind. -- The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are supporting local organizations, including many churches, that have formed the Long-Term Recovery Committee of Southwestern Indiana (LTRCSI). The long-term recovery committee is a network of community-based organizations helping those who suffered losses as a result of the November 6 tornado and severe storms.
"These are groups that have pulled together to provide a coordinated approach to help disaster victims with a wide range of assistance," said State Coordinating Officer Eric Dietz. "These organizations responded immediately after the tornado and now are working to meet long-term needs that are unmet after individuals have received federal and state disaster assistance."
Trained caseworkers will provide storm victims with information and assistance, ranging from helping to replace household items and answering housing questions to connecting individuals with mental health counselors. The caseworkers will identify disaster-related needs and enlist other long-term recovery organizations for help.
"The energy and compassion I have seen within this community, and now within this committee, is overwhelming evidence that much of the expertise and resources needed to help storm victims recover are available here locally," said Marianne Jackson, FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer.
Rev. Randy Anderson, disaster coordinator for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), serves as chairman of the long-term recovery committee. UMCOR has established a disaster recovery office to support the long-term recovery committee's mission. Shane O'Neill, director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the committee's vice-chairman. Tornado victims seeking assistance with unmet needs should contact the committee's office at 812-490-6806.
Anderson emphasized the importance of identifying and assisting those with unmet needs. "It's obvious in a community our size that some individuals might slip through the cracks. Our hope is to give those who slip through the cracks a means to get their needs met."
On Tuesday, December 13, the committee opened a distribution center in Evansville, located at the old Target building on Green River Road. The center provides household items such as furniture, appliances and bedding free of charge to those who have lost them as a result of the tornado.
The center will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays; and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Those visiting the center should bring their FEMA or Red Cross identification number with them. Those wishing to donate items for the distribution center should contact the committee's office at 812-490-6806. Individuals are urged not to bring items to the distribution center without first contacting the committee's office.
The committee will accept tax-deductible monetary donations at the following address:
c/o Catholic Charities
123 N.W. Fourth Street, Suite 603
Evansville, Ind. 47708
More than 40 agencies are represented on the Long-Term Recovery Committee of Southwestern Indiana. They, include:
- Adventist Community Services
- Aldersgate United Methodist Church
- American Red Cross
- Bethany Christian Church
- Catholic Charities
- Community Action Program of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Inc.
- Food Pantry and Newburgh Food Shop
- First Christian Church of Newburgh
- Habitat of Evansville
- Hemenway Memorial Presbyterian Church
- Hope Crisis Response Network (HCRN)
- HOPE of Evansville
- Indiana Crisis Assistance Response Team (ICART)