Ivey calls for citizens to support relief fund

Published 11:56 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

On the heels of multiple natural disasters in the state, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is calling Alabamians and citizens across the nation to support the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), an initiative established after Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan to support Alabamians recovering from natural disasters.

The fund is managed by the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services and the money contributed supports recovery needs not covered by insurance, government funding or relief organizations.

“This has been an especially active tornado season and I want to remind citizens that the GERF exists as a last resort for those in need of aid following a disaster,” Ivey said in a press release. “We know there are people that aren’t aware of this resource and we want to make sure they get all the help they need as they try to rebuild their lives. Alabamians always step up to help their neighbors in times of disaster and this is just another way for them to do that.”

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This year alone, more than 40 tornadoes have touched down in the state, according to the National Weather Service, resulting in the death of at least 23 people. In addition to tornadoes, flooding has proven to be an ongoing problem in Alabama.

“The Alabama Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund is for those who have exhausted all other means of support and still need help to recover,”  said Melinda Stallworth, coordinator for the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services. “We encourage individuals and businesses across the nation to support the GERF and help Alabamians in the recovery process.”

During long-term recovery efforts, many cities and counties establish Long Term Recovery Committees (LTRCs), which consist of local non-profits and community partners responsible for assessing the level of unmet needs in an area.

These assessments are usually overseen through a disaster case management process – once LRTCs confirm the level of need in an area, they can submit requests to the relief fund on behalf of affected families and individuals.

The fund has collected more than $134,000 to support recovery efforts in Lee County following the recent tornado and the annual “Bo Bikes Bama” charity ride, sponsored by legendary football star Bo Jackson, regularly contributes to the fund.

“We ride each year to protect our neighbors and to prevent families from experiencing the loss of a loved one due to a natural disaster,” Jackson said. “We must keep working persistently to safeguard Alabamians from the path of destructive storms.”

Jackson’s initiative has raised more than $1.5 million for the fund, assisting it in repairing 598 homes, constructing 68 community safe rooms, installing 10 emergency warning sirens and purchasing emergency generators for fire departments across the state.

To learn more about or contribute to the relief fund, visit www.servealabama.gov.