Gov. Kay Ivey has urged Alabamians to support the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund in light of recent natural disasters in the state.
Money donated to the program supports the needs of Alabamians recovering from severe weather damage that are not covered by insurance, government funding or relief organizations.
The program was started in 2004 after Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina hit the state.
“This has been an especially active tornado season, and I want to remind citizens that the GERF exists as a last resort for those in need of aid following a disaster,” Ivey said. “We know there are people that aren’t aware of this resource, and we want to make sure they get all the help they need as they try to rebuild their lives. Alabamians always step up to help their neighbors in times of disaster, and this is just another way for them to do that.”
In March, 23 lives were lost in a tornado that hit Lee County. According to the National Weather Service, 41 other tornadoes have touched down in Alabama so far this year. In addition, many areas have experienced severe flooding.
Recovering communities work with local Long Term Recovery Committees to assess which people are in need of support from the governor’s program.
Funds for the program are raised through donations, with large companies like Verizon, Walmart and AT&T providing support. Individuals also help substantially with funds.
Money is also raised through events like Bo Bikes Bama, an annual fundraising event started by former NFL player and Auburn University alum Bo Jackson after a disastrous tornado in 2011.
During its existence, Bo Bikes Bama has raised more than $1.54 million for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. This year’s event will take place on April 27.
“We ride each year to protect our neighbors and to prevent families from experiencing the loss of a loved one due to a natural disaster,” Jackson said. “We must keep working persistently to safeguard Alabamians from the path of destructive storms.”