As the focus turns from post-storm response to long-term recovery, government agencies, individuals, corporations and nonprofits are coming together to help the victims of Hurricane Sally.
On Sunday President Donald Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Alabama, triggering the release of federal funds to help people and communities recover from the hurricane. Individuals in Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile counties, as well as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, can register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance by going online to https://www.disasterassistance.gov/, calling 1-800-621-3362 or by downloading the FEMA app.
AL: Homeowners and renters in Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile counties affected by Hurricane #Sally are encouraged to register for assistance. Visit https://t.co/ap34EDRTeR or call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). https://t.co/60LCIL1j2v
— FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) September 22, 2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest disaster loans for both businesses and residents in the affected areas. “The SBA is strongly committed to providing Alabama residents with the most effective response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters …,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority.”
The SBA has opened a virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center/Business Recovery Center to help survivors apply, either online via a secure website at https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ or by calling 800-659-2955. Representatives are available by phone daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT.
Volunteers with the Alabama Power Service organization (APSO) have already mobilized to collect essential items for victims of the hurricane, including non-perishable food, household cleaning items and toiletries as part of APSO’s Good Samaritan Project. The initiative first launched in 2017 to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Mobile-area APSO chapter also donated meals and other supplies to local nonprofits. APSO members are comprised of Alabama Power employees and Alabama-based employees of Southern Nuclear, Southern Linc and Southern Company Services employees, along with their families.
Also gathering supplies for Sally victims is the City of Birmingham. People can drop off supplies at Boutwell Auditorium downtown through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Among the needed supplies are bottled water, paper towels, toilet paper, flashlights and batteries, canned goods, diapers and baby wipes and baby food. A more extensive list of items can be found here. The nonprofit organization Christian Service Mission is transporting the collected items to south Alabama.
@alabamapower has been hard at work getting power restored to our communities. And when they had leftover food from feeding the linemen working, they knew what to do – give it back to the community by donating to us!
— FeedingtheGulfCoast (@FeedingTheGulf) September 22, 2020
Gov. Kay Ivey’s office has created a special Hurricane Sally relief fund at https://www.servealabama.gov/gerf where people can donate online. Donations can also be made via mail to: Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund, P.O. Box 1523, Montgomery, AL, 36102.
The United Way of Southwest Alabama also has a relief fund, and is offering a variety of services to Sally victims through its partner agencies. For more information or to donate, visit https://uwswa.org/hurricanesally-relief-information2020/. The American Red Cross also is collecting financial donations for Sally victims but also for victims of Hurricane Laura, which devastated portions of the Louisiana coast earlier this month.
Trista, Jill, Michi, and Leslie are working at the Baldwin County Volunteer Registration Center in Robertsdale. Volunteers can come in and register to volunteer between 9AM and 2PM.
Meanwhile, a number of corporations or their philanthropic arms have already made or pledged contributions to the governor’s fund or to local nonprofits working to help those recovering from Sally. They include AT&T and the Regions Foundation.
“As our teams are working alongside their neighbors along the gulf coast to restore their communities, we are proud to support our first responders and organizations that are dedicated to helping our friends and families as they get back on their feet …,” said Wayne Hutchens, president of AT&T Alabama.
“The Regions Foundation, Regions Bank and our community partners are committed to serving and supporting the Gulf Coast,” said John Turner, president and CEO of Regions Financial Corp. “Our top priority here is to help people, businesses and communities recover and emerge stronger.”