More often than not, many efforts go unnoticed or unspoken, and many in the community are unaware of the work that has happened.. Many individuals, organizations, and businesses have been putting in dedicated time and effort to help assist in the aftermath of the July 5th flood. Dozens of volunteers from outside of Butler County traveled to the area, helped clean out basements, and removed damaged belongings. Many neighbors and family members stepped up to help one another out and to provide any support they could. Many organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were on the front lines, providing immediate relief in the incredible ways only they can, to the people affected.
Other organizations, however, have been dedicating great time and effort to support the relief efforts in other, less visible ways. Center for Community Resources has been working behind the scenes from the beginning and has been crucial in providing case management and helping to distribute resources as the initial clean up efforts slow and families and individuals try to determine how to move forward. Similarly, the Butler Emergency Relief Initiative (BERI), supported and maintained by United Way of Butler County, has been involved in conversations with the city and other agencies since shortly after the flood occurred. Through these meetings, joint decisions were made that 2-1-1 would handle all initial intake for victims affected by the flooding, while the Red Cross would complete initial assessments of homes, and many other organizations and the city were involved in assisting with immediate needs and clean up. Since that was the agreed upon structure of how the relief efforts were to go, promoting 2-1-1 as the avenue for people to call was the first step at United Way of Butler County.
However, the BERI committee, along with the United Way of Butler County staff liaison for BERI, also stepped up to handle a fund for flood victims, as many of the national organizations involved with the relief efforts did not have the capability to collect funds and designate all of the money for local use instead of it being a part of a general fund somewhere else. The BERI committee has been meeting and communicating frequently to determine the best way for the funds to be distributed to those in need, along with support from Center for Community Resources who is handling the casework for the victims. Beyond the work through BERI, United Way of Butler County has also made diligent efforts to help recruit and coordinate volunteers to assist with the ongoing clean up efforts.
There are many individuals and organizations that haven’t gotten much notice in the last few weeks, but much work has been done behind the scenes helping to assist with relief efforts, answering calls and talking to people who stop by, and, ultimately, trying to do what can be done for the community they all call home. The recovery process may seem frustrating, slower than preferred, and more complex than anyone anticipated, but everyone involved has been doing the best they can to make a difference. Was there anything that could have been done better or differently? Without a doubt. Hindsight is 20/20 after all. But it’s also a reminder that no matter what the company or organization, it’s always made up of humans. It will never be perfect. Everyone has striven to simply be better and do good in the community to the extent that they are capable of doing. Sometimes the efforts of many individuals and organizations are not the most visible or discussed, but that does not diminish the fact that they are happening. Together people are working to improve lives and create positive change.