Ocracoke is about ready to start distributing the donations that have poured into the Outer Banks Community Foundation after Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 6 hit Ocracoke with historic flooding.
Since this weather event that has shut down the island, an Outer Banks fund was set up and the foundation began receiving a large amount of cash donations earmarked for Ocracoke’s recovery.
As of mid-September, the total for Ocracoke is in the area of $500,000.
The foundation asked the Ocracoke Fire Protection Association (OFPA) to form a committee composed of members of the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department (OVFD).
OFPA, the nonprofit arm of the OVFD, allows it to enter into an agreement with the foundation and to distribute funds to the greatest benefit of all full-time island residents most in need of financial assistance, both in the short and the long term of recovery.
Although the committee does not yet have applications ready, they wanted this information available now, said Jeff Dippold, a member of the committee.
When that time comes, the committee will distribute available funds to cover needs that cannot be met by other means, such as insurance, state or federal assistance, or cash on hand.
Funds can go to a wide variety of sources, including paying for appliances or other household goods, construction costs, rent assistance, medical costs, travel costs for medical care and vehicle replacement, to name a few.
Individuals may apply for assistance with expenses directly related to losses from the hurricane, or with general assistance related to loss of income because of the storm.
All distributions will be made without regard to the individual’s sex, race, national origin, citizenship status, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, or age. All materials will be available in both English and Spanish.
The committee will be bound by rules of confidentiality in all matters of personal information but will make transparency of operation a top priority.
Members of the committee will conduct interviews, examine pertinent financial and insurance information and make any other necessary inquiries to ensure that the assistance being requested cannot be covered by other means.
After determining the level of assistance to be given, the committee will distribute funds to the appropriate vendor and arrange for the assistance to get to the applicant.
For instance, the committee might agree to replace a refrigerator and stove. Contact would be made with a vendor, who would deliver the appliances to the applicant, and bill the committee for payment. All payments will require two signatures from committee members.
In almost all cases, payments will be made to vendors for services or materials provided. As a rule, the committee will not distribute cash payments directly to residents.
No resources will be given to any member of the committee or of the OFPA board. All committee members are unpaid volunteers.
Neither OFPA nor the Outer Banks Community Foundation will use any amount of the fund to cover fees, staff salaries, contract labor or internal operating expenses of any kind.
Also, no part of the fund will be used to the benefit of, or be distributed to, any officer, employee, or director of the Outer Banks Foundation or OFPA, or any immediate family member thereof. Every penny donated will be used to benefit full-time residents of Ocracoke.
The committee with work actively with both village churches and Ocracoke Disaster Relief to avoid overlap and to focus aid where it can be most effective.
Ocracoke Disaster Relief can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The committee can be contacted at email@example.com
The foundation is accepting donations for the fund at https://www.obcf.org/donate-now/disaster-relief-fund-donate/
In addition to Dippold, the following OVFD members are on the committee: Ernest Doshier, Charles Temple, Chrisi Gaskill, Karmen Laton and Janey Jacoby.
The committee will also have one representative from both the Ocracoke United Methodist Church, and the Lifesaving Church (Ocracoke Assembly of God), a Hyde County liaison and one member of the Hispanic community.