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Charity partners give updates to tornado relief in public meeting

Damage from a tornado is seen in Dunrobin, Ont. west of Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Two months after six tornadoes ripped through the National Capital Region, the 12 organizations responsible for providing assistance to those affected held a public meeting at city hall Thursday afternoon to give updates on the relief efforts in the city.

On top of the funds already distributed by the charity organizations, proceeds from last weekend’s After the Storm charity concert were also donated at the meeting adding a further $55,678 to the over $2 million that has been pledged by all of the charity organizations.

READ MORE: Local groups, politicians announce $106,000 donation toward tornado relief efforts

The Ottawa Food Bank

The Ottawa Food Bank saw an increase of 33 per cent in the number of people who used their services in the areas affected by the storm. In addition, $175,000 worth of food was delivered to the communities most affected on top of regular distribution amounts.

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According to a report released by the food bank, $100,000 has been set aside to help fund any future needs that the 11 food banks in the affected areas may have.

In total, the food bank has allocated almost $800,000 to provide food for those affected, $700,000 of which has already been spent.

Ottawa Community Housing

According to a report released by Ottawa Community Housing, approximately 7,000 homes and over 14,000 tenants were impacted by the tornadoes.

Twenty-five of their communities were visited in person by staff from the Ottawa food bank over the weekend while the power was out. Non-perishable food items were delivered to those affected.

WATCH: Emotional residents of Dunrobin relive the moment when the tornado hit

Click to play video: 'Emotional residents of Dunrobin relive the moment when the tornado hit' Emotional residents of Dunrobin relive the moment when the tornado hit
Emotional residents of Dunrobin relive the moment when the tornado hit – Sep 25, 2018

Salvation Army

According to the Salvation Army, $80,000 was donated and most of it was used to provide food and clothing. Of that money, $61,000 has been distributed to those in need.

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As for the remaining $19,000, according to Tony Brushett, executive director of the Salvation Army Ottawa, that money will not only be used to further provide clothing and food for the upcoming winter months but will also be used to provide gifts to the children who were affected.

“We just want to make sure some of the basics are looked after and that there are toys under the tree for the kids that were affected,” said Brushett.

United Way Ottawa

An initial investment of $211,000 has grown to $276,000 thanks to the proceeds raised from the After the Storm concert. That money will be put towards some of the future needs of the communities, both short and long term.

According to the United Way, those needs include:

  • Families, children and individuals who experienced this crisis may need access to mental health supports and crisis counselling.
  • Residents are living in precarious housing situations with instability for the future.
  • Winter weather may provide challenges to home repair and rebuilding.
  • Residents have experienced damage from the storm and may need information and referral supports for insurance, financial assistance, and basic needs.
  • Seniors may need outreach support to address issues that they are facing related to the storm.
  • Food security may again be at risk due to a drop in donations after the holiday season.

The Red Cross

According to the Red Cross, the organization is allocating up to $371,000 to support community organizations with their relief and recovery efforts. On top of that, those who have registered with the Red Cross but haven’t yet received assistance are eligible for up to $600 for a household of three or fewer and $800 for four or more.

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According to the Red Cross, 626 households have registered to receive help. Donations of $4.9 million were made in Quebec to help those affected in Gatineau and $1.8 million has been donated to help those in Ontario.

READ MORE: Here’s how the Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes formed so quickly

According to Coun. Keith Elgi, whose ward includes Trend-Arlington, one of the neighbourhoods most affected, though the community and charity response has been overwhelming the city will be better prepared should another event like this occur in the future.

“There really is no rule book for councillors when it comes to disasters,” said Egli. “This is the first time we’ve had to deal with something like this. God forbid if this ever happens again, we’ll have a refined plan.”

Anyone who is still in need of assistance is asked to visit the United Way of Ottawa website.

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