Relief effort larger than tornado that hit Manzanita

The first few weeks of the new year is a great time to write about the positive, spontaneous and heartwarming community response to the tornado that cut a 700-foot wide swath through Manzanita on Oct. 14. Amazingly, nobody was seriously hurt.
Immediately, folks sprang into action. Paid and unpaid workers cleared debris, restored electricity, tarpped roofs and boarded up windows to protect against further extreme winds that were predicted for the rest of that weekend. Fortunately, those winds that were predicted to come in like a lion turned out to come in like lambs, so there wasn’t further damage. Emergency shelters were immediately created and staffed by volunteers – kudos to the Emergency Volunteer Corp! Gratitude to the San Dune and Manzanita Deli who generously fed victims and recovery workers over the weekend.
Within a few days an ad hoc Manzanita Tornado Relief Committee was formed under the fiscal umbrella of Fulcrum Community Resources, for the purpose of providing financial relief to tornado victims. Two FCR board members and several local residents comprise this committee which has the responsibility for oversight and dispersal of funds. FCR bought PO Box 44 Manzanita 97130, so folks could send tax-deductible donations for tornado relief. FCR is donating its fiscal services. The “Manzanita Tornado Relief” Facebook page was established to provide communication and information.
To date, more than $18,000 has been received from individual donations through the mail, plus $2,625 through CARE in Tillamook. These donations, ranging from $20 to $1500, came from 114 different individuals. Another $17,000 has come from local fundraisers: St. Catherine’s Church same-day donations plus their Christmas tea proceeds, donation jars around town, San Dune party, Wisteria Chic soap sales, Lighthouse party, 10 percent cash-mob sales from Finesterre, Nehalem Elementary School Walk-a-thon, NCRD turkey trot (an annual run in the shape of a turkey on Thanksgiving Day), Rhythm Method music event, Cannon Beach Chorus concert, “tornado t-shirt” sales at Manzanita Lumber and Bahama Mama’s. Thank you to Breanna Stephens for creating, organizing, and accounting for t-shirt sales, and thank you to Casey Henley for the artwork.  Thank you to local businesses and individuals who organized fundraisers.
The Tornado Relief Committee distributed an application form for homeowners and businesses to document their losses; and mailed to every Manzanita post office box. To date, $25,000 of those Tornado Relief Funds have been dispersed to 12 recipients. We still have funds on hand, with more donations expected to come in. We want everyone who had losses to please fill out an application (available on the counter at Manzanita News & Espresso), and can be received by email from Lucy Brook ( Deadline for receipt of applications is Jan. 31.
In addition, more than $31,000 of donations were made through individual GoFundMe and other sources (including $1,000 donated by GoFundMe itself). In total almost $70,000 has been raised, demonstrating the love of so many for our community.  The CIty of Manzanita sent PUD $1,000 in gratitude for their efficiency in restoring electricity.
In October, Manzanita’s landscape was dramatically changed by loss of trees and buildings in the pathway of the 2-minute tornado. What was not changed, but demonstrated over and over again, was the preparedness and caring of community members for each other. Many people stepped up in many ways to help their friends, neighbors, and just anyone with recovering from this staggering, unexpected weather event. The state also sent insurance facilitators to Manzanita to help people deal with insurance companies.
The community even replanted almost 200 trees the day after Thanksgiving, in Thanks for all the wonderful giving by everyone. We don’t want another tornado, but we sure like the incredible willingness of our community to help each other in recovery. We know that there are others that suffered losses during the tornado, and insurance will not cover all.  Please send in an application and let the generosity of so many help you to make 2017 the best year yet for our resilient community. For more information, contact Lucy Brook or Manzanita Tornado Relief Facebook page.