The group will help coordinate a long-term recovery and rebuilding effort in Catoosa. Ringgold and outer areas suffered tremendous damage due to an EF4 tornado that struck the area April 27.
Speaker Mike Yoder, president of Georgia’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), explained the purpose of forming a local group is to “bring leaders and faith-based groups of the community together to rebuild the community and take care of the ‘unmet needs’ of the people affected by disaster.”
Target individuals may include those from higher poverty areas, those who are uninsured or other “at risk” groups. Regardless of the situation, any potential clients must register with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) first. No applicants will be considered until they have registered.
The group’s first hurdle of setting up a 501C3-designated account for funds donated has already been estab-lished. A representative from the Catoosa Baptist Association was present and stated the CBA already had such an account in place and would allow the new board to utilize it. All donations go into the fund then are redistributed by the COAD group to private individuals, not the county or city as a whole.
The second step in the process is to set up a board of volunteers and caseworkers. Caseworkers are trained to meet with clients, take information and visualize the needs. Nine volunteers stepped up to serve by the time the meeting adjourned, and met with Yoder and Gerald Harfoot, volunteer agency liaison with FEMA. More than 100 local families have already been identified and are being evaluated for aid through COAD.
For more information, call the COAD hotline at 706-935-2109 or 706-935-2199, or fax information to 706-935-2389.