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United Way Worldwide Launches Disaster Response and Recovery Fund Supporting Communities Affected by Hurricane Ian

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of Hurricane Ian, United Way Worldwide has established the United Way Disaster Response and Recovery Fund to help local United Ways on the ground respond to immediate needs and rebuild community infrastructure across affected regions.

"United Way is deeply rooted in neighborhoods, and understands that recovering and rebuilding is not a quick fix."

Hurricane Ian has damaged hundreds of coastal communities with powerful winds, dangerous storm surges, and flooding. Millions are still without power; more than 100 people have lost their lives; and thousands of homes, hospitals, and businesses have been destroyed by one of the strongest and costliest storms ever to hit the U.S.

The national fund will complement local United Way efforts, providing a single clearinghouse for individual and corporate donors who want to support. United Ways in communities impacted by Ian will continue to raise money locally and respond to immediate and emerging needs.

"Local United Ways are deeply rooted in neighborhoods. Our unique presence in communities allows us to quickly and efficiently provide help during times of crisis," said Angela F. Williams, United Way President and CEO. "United Ways work with local emergency operations centers, 211, and other critical partners to act swiftly after catastrophic events. We are in the community long after the first responders leave and understand that recovering and rebuilding is not a quick fix," she added.

United Way partner 211 is a 24/7 crisis helpline phone number with operators working on the front lines of disaster. Available across America and Canada, callers can contact 211 for critical services, including finding evacuation routes, shelters, access to food, water, and emergency supplies during and after natural disasters. Longer term, 211 helps communities recover and rebuild, connecting them with FEMA, mental health organizations, and other vital agencies. 

During the storm, United Way 211 operators in the Fort Myers region served residents desperate for assistance due to rising flood waters and family member reunification efforts. "211 call center operators are working around the clock, so we are ensuring they also have the support and resources needed," said Joshua Pedersen, Interim Senior Director of 211 for United Way Worldwide.

National United Way partners are also stepping up to support communities, with Comcast NBCUniversal announcing a significant cash and in-kind contribution to the United Way Disaster Response and Recovery Fund. "United Way greatly appreciates the support of Comcast NBCUniversal in disaster relief," Williams said. "Building stronger communities is a shared value."

Supporters seeking to provide aid for specific communities are encouraged to view the funds below:

About United Way Worldwide

United Way brings people together to build strong communities where everyone thrives. As one of the world's largest privately funded charities, we serve 95% of U.S. communities and 37 countries and territories; our humanitarian aid supports 48 million people every year. Through United Way, communities tackle tough challenges and work with private, public, and nonprofit partners to boost education, economic solutions, and health resources. United Way is the mission of choice for 1.5 million volunteers, 6.8 million donors, and 45,000 corporate partners in more than 1,100 communities worldwide in our second century of service. Together, we are building resilient, equitable communities across the globe. Learn more at UnitedWay.org. Follow us: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

About 211

211 is a free, confidential service that connects people across the U.S. and Canada to locally available resources 24/7. 211 will remain open and ready to provide local information about evacuation routes, shelters, food and water, health resources, and other needs throughout the storm.

CONTACT: Rachel Perry, (828) 275-3133, rachel.perry@uww.unitedway.org

SOURCE United Way Worldwide

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