Emergency Disaster Relief Program
The Lions of Michigan Foundation provides help for people victimized by floods, forest fires, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Funding may be provided for food, clothing, shelter and other personal needs.
May This year
Gaylord, Michigan was hit by an EF-3 tornado. While loss of life was fortunately small (3 deaths and 30-some injuries), property damage and destruction were severe. The Nottingham Village mobile home park was almost completely destroyed along with numerous other residences. Additionally, the business district suffered severe wind and hail damage, and 38 businesses had to close. Some businesses have still not been able to reopen, causing a loss of jobs to individuals already living paycheck to paycheck.
Unfortunately there is no longer a Lions Club in Gaylord, but the surrounding clubs along with many individuals and businesses stepped up in a big way. In this way the immediate needs for food and temporary shelter were met. Our first step in the response to the emergency was a grant request to the Lions of Michigan Foundation. The LMF awarded our district a $7,500 emergency grant which was distributed to individuals in the form of gift cards, labeled that they were donated by the Lions of Michigan Foundation. From the date of the tornado to the date funds were disbursed in Gaylord was less than a week, so a big thanks to Chad McCann and to CC Ron Gibson (chair of the grants committee) for their extremely swift response to the grant request. This distribution was administered by the United Way, the coordinator appointed by the County Emergency Management Office. They served over 400 people who needed shelter and food. Gift cards totaling over $32,000 were distributed, so our Lion contribution was a big part of this. United Way in Gaylord also distributed food, clothing, physical hygiene and cleaning products to affected individuals. Between the gifts cards and the other support, over 400 people received and are still receiving assistance.
The second step in our response was to request a special contribution from our 11-E2 clubs, to which funds were added from the district emergency fund. We were delighted when the contributions from our local clubs were supplemented by contributions from the Greenville and New Baltimore Lions. This effort raised over $10,000, which we used to provide gas cards to the needy, lunches and water for volunteers, and over $7,000 was given to Habitat for Humanity to begin the repair process on housing in Nottingham Village. Habitat was also thankful for a trailer load of supplies that came from the Harsens Island Lions.
The third step in our assistance to the Gaylord area was a $20,000 Community Recovery Grant which we received from the Lions Clubs International Foundation. This grant is being used to provide materials for further repairs to Nottingham Village. In addition to the funds, we have participated in three work days cleaning debris and preparing work sites for the major repair jobs that are ahead. We will also be assisting in more work days going forward.
I would like to thank all of the Lions of Michigan for their assistance with this disaster. In addition to the clubs mentioned above, I am sure agencies in Gaylord received assistance that I am unaware of, so please accept my thanks for your assistance, and my apologies for not mentioning your club by name. Thank you to every club in Michigan that contributed to the Lions of Michigan Foundation and to the Lions Club International Foundation which made it possible for them to award us the grants we needed to help the Gaylord community. The response from Michigan Lions has been overwhelming, and is a true example of our motto.
PDG Barb Durflinger,
Gaylord Tornado Response, District 11
“As a resident of Highland Park, I witnessed the devastation of the tornado on July 2. More than 800 homes were damaged or destroyed, and many families lost everything with no means of replacing anything. Thank you from all of us in Highland Park for your assistance.”
“On behalf of the citizens of Hamtramck, I would like to thank you for your donation to the Hamtramck Tornado Relief Fund. We are now in the process of distributing the funds to the people with the most needs. Many of our residents were either uninsured or underinsured, and although FEMA has been a great help, the money they provide is not nearly enough to complete the repair process.”