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FLUMC Receives Tremendous Support from the Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant Program

FLUMC Receives Tremendous Support from the Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant Program

Disaster Recovery

In January of 2022, five tornadoes hit southwest Florida in Lee and Charlotte Counties, with confirmed reports that the EF-2 tornado that struck Fort Myers was the strongest in the area since 2016. The January tornadoes damaged over 100 homes and destroyed others with wind speeds exceeding 110 mph.

The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church works to serve those in need who have been affected by disasters through its Disaster Recovery Ministry. To aid in the reconstruction of homes after the hard-hitting tornadoes, the Disaster Recovery Ministry applied for a grant from Lowe's through a partnership with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD). The grant for $25,000 in digital Lowe's gift cards was awarded to the ministry, allowing staff to purchase supplies to help repair homes damaged by these devastating tornadoes. The NVOAD Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant is highly competitive, and FLUMC has received it once before to help with recovery after the damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

According to FLUMC’s Construction and Volunteer Manager Steve Potter, in a time with material and contractor shortages, it is important to secure materials for those waiting for extreme construction, such as new roofs. With the direct funding from the NVOAD Lowe's Reconstruction Grant, it allows FLUMC’s Disaster Recovery Ministry the ability to purchase materials and other items needed to help clients fully recover. 

FLUMC Senior Disaster Case Manager Haley Shoemaker said, “Having the Lowe's grant means having another avenue to provide assistance to the survivors we are working with. Without funding, our means in which to provide assistance to our client's is limited, making these funds vital to helping us through this recovery.” 

Grant funds will give clients the ability to keep their roofs tarped while waiting for contractors and materials to be available, as the average wait time is currently three to four months, according to FLUMC Senior Disaster Case Manager Kelly Milner. With the help of the NVOAD Lowe’s Reconstruction Grant and other grants, FLUMC will be aided in our overall project goals to open 130 cases and assess repair needs, then to initiate and complete repairs on 65 homes, as well as provide a minimum of 100 households with direct assistance. FLUMC will host over 130 construction teams, 1,500 volunteers, and complete over 35,000 hours of volunteer work with the help of Disaster Recovery staff. FLUMC has partnerships dating back to Hurricane Irma including nine construction vendors, six partner agencies, and six housing options for volunteers and staff to aid in these projects for the 2022 relief and aid. 

Trish Hall, partnerships and grants manager, expressed her gratitude for the grant: “FLUMC is honored to have once again been chosen to partner with the NVOAD Lowe's Reconstruction Grant Program. It is because of forward-thinking partners like Lowe's that our staff can make big impacts quickly. Thank you Lowe's for putting survivors first!” 

Florida Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Trish Warren shared that, “We are forever grateful for the partnership we have with Lowe’s, UMCOR, and NVOAD.  Without these partnerships, the Disaster Recovery Ministry would not be able to support the recovery of the many clients who have been devastated by the January 2022 tornadoes in SW Florida.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Disaster Recovery Ministry, you can do so by clicking here. 

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