The Robin Hood Relief Fund awarded Fairfield's Operation Hope $140,000 to help augment resources for the town's Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort, First Selectman Michael Tetreau and Operation Hope Executive Director Carla Miklos announced last week.
Operation Hope will allocate $100,000 to address the urgent housing needs of individuals and families impacted by Sandy, according to a release from the First Selectman's Office. Those housing needs include: home repair, home contents replacement, and emergency financial assistance.
Another $25,000 will be allocated to the town to support a temporary, part-time case manager position to work with those affected by the storm over a longterm period, the release states.
The final $15,000 will be designated for overhead costs associated with Operation Hope’s food pantry and community kitchen, which have seen a 17 percent increase in meals and a 22 percent increase in pantry volume since the storm.
The relief funds can only be used for the assistance of Fairfield residents and their primary residences, not businesses, impacted directly by Superstorm Sandy, according to the release.
"On behalf of our neighbors who are still struggling in the aftermath of Storm Sandy, we are deeply grateful to [the] Robin Hood [Relief Fund] for its tremendous support of storm relief efforts in our community," Tetreau said.
Miklos added that Operation Hope applied for the funds to help the town reach more people affected by the storm.
"We hope that those who read this will let their friends and neighbors know that the fund exists to help them with their unmet needs,” she said.
The Town of Fairfield and Operation Hope created a Fairfield Storm Sandy Relief Fund in November to provide disaster relief for residents affected by the storm.
A committee of concerned citizens and representatives from the Town of Fairfield was established to review and approve applications for financial assistance, according to the release.
To date, the Fund has raised $95,263, thanks to the many generous donors who have stepped forward to help the Fairfield community.
The Fairfield Storm Sandy Relief Fund is still accepting applications for assistance and charitable tax-deductible contributions for distribution to Fairfield residents who have been impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
Funds have been disbursed to assist residents with immediate needs not covered by insurance or FEMA and have included items like replacement appliances, clothing, basement clean-up, mold remediation, and new mattresses and box springs.
For questions or further information about the Fairfield Storm Sandy Relief Fund, please call Operation Hope at 203-292-5588.
"Many people are still struggling to rebuild in the wake of this devastating storm," Director of Community and Economic Development Mark Barnhart, a member of the fund committee, said. "
Some are wrestling with the really difficult decision of whether they even can or should rebuild. We know it’s hard, and we’re here to provide whatever assistance we can."
Barnhart noted that the town is continuing to work with the state and various organizations active in disaster recovery to help bring manpower and other material resources to bear. He acknowledged difficulties in identifying and getting aid to people who need help.
"We’ve talked to some folks who are reluctant to ask for help because they perceive others to be worse off, but I would encourage people to apply," Barnhart said.
"Let us make that judgment if you are struggling. That’s what these funds are here for, and people shouldn’t feel ashamed to accept the help offered by their friends and neighbors,” he added.