Community

United Way gives $45K to send Darrington kids to camp, replace household items

In a continuing effort to address the needs of families impacted by the State Route 530 flood and mudslide, United Way is partnering with two highly regarded local organizations. Up to $24,750 will help Camp Fire USA's Snohomish County Council, to send 50 children from Darrington to Camp Killoqua this summer. Another $20,000 will help the North Sound Society of St. Vincent de Paul distribute full sets of new, pre-packaged household items to people who lost their homes in the March 22 mudslide.

"With this funding support, we can provide youth from Darrington a week away from the destruction, isolation and trauma they have been dealing with," said David Surface, executive director of Camp Fire USA's Snohomish County Council. "These kids deserve a break. They've been through so much."

Camp Fire is working with North Counties' Family Services to identify potential participants for sessions in July or August. They will hire additional staff to meet increased demand. United Way's contribution is expected to cover the costs for half of the children from Darrington who might take part.

St. Vincent de Paul has provided what they call a "House in a Box" to survivors of natural disasters around the country, particularly after the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast.

"Although we have raised quite a bit of money for this program, we were $20,000 short of being able to provide our 'House in a Box' to families who will need to reestablish their homes," said Jim Kehoe, chief executive of the North Sound Society of St. Vincent de Paul. "United Way is making it possible for us to supply the material goods a family will need, including basic bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen items. Our goal is to relieve some of the stress these families are going through."

"Houses in a Box" are given to survivors regardless of whether they owned or rented their previous housing. St. Vincent de Paul waits until FEMA has processed each family's assessment. That way, supplies are not deducted from any funding FEMA might contribute. Kehoe expects to dispense these items to 30 to 40 families within the next 60 days. United Way's contribution will cover approximately 40 percent of the costs.

"We are proud to be working with Camp Fire and St. Vincent de Paul, to help people begin the process of rebuilding their lives, physically and emotionally," said Dr. Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. "This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. In addition to addressing the immediate needs of survivors, we're also focusing on the long-term. We will be helping the families and communities of Darrington, Oso and Arlington for years to come."

United Way has raised at least $1.54 million for its Disaster Recovery Fund, and distributed more than $500,000 to families and communities affected by the mudslide. One hundred percent of all dollars raised will be used for the recovery effort.

For more information on United Way's Disaster Recovery Fund for Mudslide Relief, and updated details on how much has been raised and how the money has been distributed, visit www.uwsc.org/recoveryfund.php.

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