We are nearly halfway through 2020.

Wow. Let that sink in.

It’s a year we will never forget. The year of the Global Pandemic AND a Historic Flood.

Plans were cancelled. Places were closed. People held back from hugging and meeting and being together.

Before COVID-19 touched our state, our team at United Way was like many of you: making plans for the upcoming year. We were looking ahead to this year’s campaign and getting details in place for our Centennial celebration.

Then everything changed. There was no rulebook, or a process, or an outline of next steps.

But we did have our community.

As the media descended and the headlines describe a community devastated by a pandemic and flood waters, Midland County showed the nation what it looks like to truly Live United. Despite it all—the flood, the devastation, the uncertainty—our community is moving forward. Together.

It’s not a single organization, entity, corporation or individual that is leading the charge. It is Midland County as a collective, picking up the pieces and each playing our part. United Way has a dedicated staff of 12 but creating change is bigger than that. It’s a network of nonprofit partners, businesses, government, schools, churches and volunteers. It is not the power of 12, but the impact of 12,000. We are far greater than the sum of our parts.

United Way is you. Us. Together.

A Snapshot of Generosity

In the last four weeks, our community has joined together to make things happen and rise above the challenges. Here’s a snapshot of the collective efforts in the emergency flood response and into this next phase of recovery:

  • Over 2,200 volunteers registered through United Way’s online volunteer portal to fill over 365 volunteer shifts, investing over 16,000 hours. New opportunities continue to get posted daily. View and sign up here.
  • VOAD groups. National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) members from across the nation and in our own community came to lend their disaster relief expertise. Teams of trained VOADs went door-to-door to assess home damage and help with clean up, and organizations and groups across the county helped ensure these groups had food, a place to stay and other necessities. If you faced flood damage and have not had a group visit your home, please contact us.
  • In-kind donations. United Way and Dow have partnered with others to leverage an estimated $1.2 million of in-kind donations for basic needs and recovery items and deployed them to the hardest-hit areas. These represent dollars saved and critical needs met.
  • Monetary donations. Over $3.2 million dollars have already been invested in United Way’s Rise Together Fund to help our vulnerable people put their lives back together.

The outpouring of generosity has been overwhelming. It shows the true hearts of people, and it proves we are not alone.

Now What?

So the question becomes…now what?

A new chapter is upon us. We are switching gears from emergency flood response to recovery in partnership with the Long Term Disaster Recovery group.

The needs will be greater than ever. We can’t ignore the fact that over 2,500 homes have reported damage and over $100,000,000 in residential damages have been documented. We are grateful for the generous investments made to help our people, and we are mindful of how we can best stretch the dollar to make the biggest impact.

Rebuilding is not an overnight process. Stewardship of donations is a responsibility—and one that we take very seriously. The Long Term Disaster Recovery group will deploy case managers and a construction manager to help assess each household and determine a path forward. By continuing to leverage in-kind donations, volunteers, governmental and other funding, we can stretch your dollars to impact the most people.

Recent investments made possible because of you:

  • Leveraged approximately $1.2M in donated basic need and flood recovery items
  • Invested an estimated $21,000 in free laundry vouchers to flood survivors
  • Secured a one year lease on a warehouse to store and manage donated construction materials
  • Invested an initial $200,000 in housing support to provide security deposit, first month’s rent and up to six months of support to those displaced by the flood who have a demonstrated financial need.
  • Provided a $5,000 per household grant for low-income residents who are experiencing well issues to help them hook up to a safe and reliable water source.

As a community, we have pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and have shown up. No one could do this alone, and the beautiful thing about our community is we never have to…because Midland County’s foundation is built on a culture of care for one another.

You are a part of that foundation and your generosity is creating our comeback story.