Area public officials met in front of the Columbia Canal Breach Thursday afternoon, which served as a sobering reminder that many in their communities still need help recovering from the Oct. 4 floods.
Members of the Regional Mayors Forum, made up of mayors from around the Midlands, voiced their support for Central Carolina Community Foundation’s S.C. Flood Relief Fund. The foundation serves 11 Midlands counties.
The fund so far has raised about $500,000 and secured another $250,000 in grants, according to foundation president and CEO JoAnn Turnquist.
Turnquist said her organization will accept applications from nonprofits for grants up to $25,000 starting Monday.
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“We can deploy the dollars that are so generously given to ensure the nonprofits are doing the work to rebuild our communities quickly and efficiently,” Turnquist said.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin announced the Lipscomb Family Foundation will match up to $100,000 to the S.C. Flood Relief Fund.
Cayce Mayor Elise Partin said because many people’s lives have returned to normal, it can be easy to forget those still in need.
“The waters have receded now, and a lot of people ... have gone back to a sense of normalcy,” she said. “Yet there are still people living in somewhere other than their houses.”
Forest Acres Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Rye said his city’s crisis started a few days before the flood when one of its police officers was killed in the line of duty. He said people from around the Midlands rallied around Forest Acres, and he hopes to see that continued camaraderie through the S.C. Flood Relief Fund.
“We’ve seen such help from our community,” Rye said. “And when I say community, I don’t mean just Forest Acres.”
Benjamin said it could take years to fully recover, and the fund is one way to ensure it does happen.
“It’s going to take all of us to come together as one great community if we’re ever going to truly recover,” he said.
S.C. Flood Relief Fund
To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit www.yourfoundation.org/SCFloodReflief.
Those seeking help or who want to find out ways to help can call the Columbia Area Relief Effort (CARE) hotline at (866) 272-1976.