The Starke County Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) group has been working in conjunction with the County’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to establish a fund intended to provide assistance during emergencies.
Over the last several months, EMA Director J. Nier and COAD members have been coordinating about the idea of providing food and beverages, such as water or coffee, to first responders when they’re on a scene for an extended amount of time.
Since the EMA Director is generally notified when emergencies occur, she has the ability to hear directly from first responders about when the assistance would be needed. While there were some small successes with providing sandwiches and coffee on a few occasions, there was desire to make the program more sustainable.
The group worked with the Starke County Community Foundation to establish the Community Assistance for Emergencies (C.A.F.E) Designated Endowment Fund.
Through a generous donation of $5,000 from the Hardesty Memorial Fund, the fund already has some dollars invested and will now start gathering interest.
Others can make contributions to the C.A.F.E Fund by clicking the Donate button located on nicf.org and then selecting Community Assistance For Emergencies Fund when prompted to designate the gift. Individuals can choose whether they want to make the donation once, on a monthly basis, or annually.
The COAD group also intends to hold in-person fundraisers in the future.
While Community Foundation funds can not be accessed at any time, a check with a portion of the funds raised will be presented each year and the remainder will continue to be invested.
In order to have money available to purchase items right away, a separate bank account is being created for the C.A.F.E Fund where those checks will eventually be deposited and donations designated for immediate use will be placed.
Representatives felt that establishing the endowment through SCCF not only helps legitimize the effort but it also ensures that there will be money for this purpose for years to come.
The first priority of the account is to assist first responders, however, there are plans to build upon that in the future. Once the group starts to see a return on their investment and more funds are available to spend, some additional guidelines will be established to expand on the assistance provided.
Ultimately, the hope is that the C.A.F.E Fund will also be able to help community members who have been affected by emergency situations such as a fire, flood, or even a furnace going out in the wintertime.
If you are a restaurant owner, first-responder, or curious citizen interested in learning more, contact Director Nier at 574-772-9182 or send a message through the Starke County COAD Facebook Page.