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Suffolk Foundation offers help

Nearly 12 years after the event that inspired its inception, a regional disaster relief fund at the Suffolk Foundation is being activated again in response to the pandemic.

The fund was created after the tornado that struck Suffolk on April 28, 2008, destroying numerous homes and businesses. After meeting all of the tornado-related needs — including purchasing a generator for the Salvation Army to serve as an emergency shelter in the future — the fund’s remaining balance was held in reserve in preparation for the next crisis, Executive Director Win Winslow said last week.

The fund hasn’t been activated since, and it has been growing interest. The current balance is about $60,000, and local nonprofits are invited to submit needs they may have as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want the community to know we’re here,” Winslow said.

Winslow said there is some uncertainty as to what the most critical needs will be and how they can be met, since the pandemic has been a rapidly changing situation from the start.

However, the fund will initially support the following areas — for nonprofit organizations only, not individuals — according to the Foundation’s website:

  • Proven, community-based organizations that support the physical and emotional health of the most vulnerable residents, including children, seniors and the homeless.
  • Operating needs of safety net clinics, food access providers, child and adult care organizations, and housing providers for the homeless.
  • Hardships of nonprofit organizations due to the loss of income or revenue.

Winslow said the Foundation also is working on guidance to help nonprofits take advantage of assistance offered by the federal stimulus package. The Foundation also is available to help local nonprofits with any questions or concerns they may have.

Finally, for those who may be looking for a way to help, Winslow encouraged donations to the Foundation.

“If people want to give a donation to nonprofits or people in need, they can use the Foundation as a trusted vehicle to do that,” Winslow said.

More information, and a form for nonprofits to submit needs, is available at suffolkfoundation.org.