There is still a lot of work to do, and a lot of people who are in need following last week’s devastation in Gaylord.
The Otsego County community is coming together, but still working to recover after last Friday’s tornado. Now, more help is coming, including a major financial boost.
“Supporting the residents of this community who are working so hard is a great way to give back,” says Carlin Smith, spokesperson for Consumers Energy. The Consumers Energy Foundation is stepping forward with two major grants: $25,000 each for the United Way and the local Community Foundation. “There’s obviously a real ‘people element’ whenever a disaster happens in the community. Consumers’ ‘triple bottom line’ is: people, planet, and Michigan’s prosperity. We do want to take care of the ‘people’ part of this.”
Funds will largely go to people with urgent needs – for things like temporary housing, car repairs, and utilities. “There’s a lot of people without a place to live right now. How do we sustain them and support them as they look for new housing or need temporary housing in the time being? So hopefully these funds can be used to support not only the business community but also the residents of Gaylord,” Smith says.
Erin Mann is the Executive Director of the Otsego County United Way. She’s grateful for the support from the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Their gift today is going to ensure this community bounces back really fast. Just like how they got out here on Friday night to make sure electricity was back on fast, they’re going to help make sure our friends and neighbors come back very strong.”
The United Way is also offering “Gaylord Strong” t-shirts – made locally in Gaylord at Sunfrog. Owner Josh Kent says, “We’ve seen this done around the country and actually helped do it for other places. (We) never have done a t-shirt design like this for our own community. There are people in the trades supporting the community. We’re t-shirt makers so this is how we support our community. We make t-shirts.”
The shirts are available or you can visit the United Way or at their offices at 1782 O’Rourke Blvd. in Gaylord. They’re asking for a $20 suggested donations but they’ll take whatever you can spare. Kent says, “We’ll take whatever you give. 100% of the proceeds go to United Way to support everyone that was affected.
For those who can’t give money – even a blood drive at the local fire station is a good way to make a difference for a community affected by disaster.
The , and the are two of the main driving forces behind getting the help where it’s needed the most in the Gaylord community. You can use these links to make a contribution.