BLOOMINGTON, Ill.,
24
September
2020
|
19:13 PM
America/Chicago

Disaster Grants Support Recovery Efforts

Long after the news cycle moves on from one West Coast wildfire to the next, from one land-falling tropical system to the next, State Farm® crews and resources remain in those neighborhoods to help people recover from the unexpected.

Early in a disaster, waves of support come in the form of needed supplies and manpower. But after those first waves subside, the need remains.

To assist, State Farm has issued $250,000 in grants to on-the-ground nonprofits across California, Oregon and Washington.

State Farm actively supports charitable programs and volunteerism in communities across the country every day. But the company also sets aside special funding each year to respond to natural disasters and other crises. These extra funds supplement the support of agents and Claims teams in these communities. They help meet ongoing human services needs (food and shelter) and future prevention projects.

And the good neighbor spirit of agents further extends the reach of the company’s on-the-ground charitable arm.

Wildfires today are extremely different and more dangerous than they were in the past. Wildfires are burning closer to homes, businesses and populated communities compared to previously being events that happen only in forests.

“Today, more families and business owners are being displaced when a wildfire occurs because of evacuation orders and loss of residences and businesses,” Senior Vice President Annette Martinez said. “This leads to an immediate need for shelter, food, evacuation help and medical assistance. These grants will support those recovery efforts.”

“The West Coast recovery effort will be an enormous task,” Director of Corporate Responsibility Ed Woods said. “The organizations receiving grant support through this relief package are some of the first organizations to respond to the devastation and will continue to provide assistance during the recovery phase.”

In addition to the wildfires on the West Coast, State Farm has provided disaster response grants for the Iowa derecho, Hurricane Laura and Nashville tornadoes.

Louisiana agent spearheads Hurricane Laura donation drive

Laura bore down on Lake Charles, La., last month as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, the strongest to strike the state since 1856. In the aftermath, shattered structures, crumpled cars and dangling power lines bore witness to the strength of the storm.

Blake Wheelis is an agent in West Monroe, La., about 200 miles north of Lake Charles. He saw his state smacked yet again by a monstrous storm, only 15 years after Hurricane Katrina.

“Monroe was heavily impacted but nothing like the devastation in Lake Charles,” he said. “My heart hurt for them, so I mobilized efforts to help.”

Blake sent a note to fellow agents telling them about the devastation in his home state. He also created a way anyone can donate to help residents through United Way.

As of Sept. 23, more than $40,000 in donations have poured in.

“State Farm agents are doing what they always do — helping others when they need help,” Blake added. “The bond among us is unique.”

All donations will be used to help feed Lake Charles residents and assist with recovery.

“When all is said and done, none of us will be remembered for how we enjoyed times of prosperity, but we will be remembered for how we responded during times of adversity,” Blake said.