Disaster Recovery

Photo courtesy of Jefferson City News Tribune


United Way of Central Missouri is proud of the great work of the first responders, city and county personnel, health and human service agencies and faith based organizations that provided the initial boots on the ground during the days and weeks immediately following the tornado and subsequent flooding our community experienced in 2019.  United Way understood it was our responsibility to take a leadership role behind the scenes to mobilize volunteer deployments, serve as a location to collect supplies and redistribute them, and help secure financial and material donations from supporters to address intermediate and long-term needs for disaster survivors. Equally important was our role to serve as the convener to bring community organizations and faith based groups together to rebuild our community.  Through these efforts, the Cole and Miller County Long-Term Recovery Committee has been established to provide disaster survivors the tools and resources to recover, rebuild and regain hope.

Thanks to the incredible support and response from our community, United Way mobilized over 400 volunteers to assist with clean up two days after the tornado, and hundreds more volunteered through their churches and businesses; and many more caring community members took it upon themselves to go to the disaster impacted areas to see how they could help.  In addition to the overwhelming volunteer response, community members and people outside our community donated over $340,000 to the United Way Disaster Recovery Fund and over $700,000 in durable goods has been donated for intermediate and long-term recovery.  The Long-Term Recovery Committee is responsible for distribution of these funds and durable goods to aid disaster survivors who have exhausted all other resources available. United Way of Central Missouri is honored and proud to remain the trusted source for monetary and donation oversight and we take that responsibility very seriously. We are committed to continuing to serve alongside our community partners and caring community as we recover and rebuild.

United Way of Central Missouri hosted its annual Kids United FunFest in early October of 2019--an annual carnival free of cost to families served by United Way partner agencies--and this year extended a special welcome to families impacted by the disasters. Kids United FunFest was held at the Boys & Girls Club, an ideal location not only because many children at the Club attend the carnival, but it is also located in the heart of where some of the heaviest devastation occurred during the May 22 tornado. Hundreds of families attended the event and enjoyed activities including a bounce house, bubble machine, fire truck tours, games and more. Kids United FunFest was made possible by presenting sponsor Scholastic, and event sponsors Hawthorn Bank and Hy-Vee. United Way is grateful to these sponsors for making it possible to provide an evening of fun for families in our community.


We are truly grateful for the tremendous financial support provided from within and outside our community to aid in recovery and rebuilding for disaster survivors in Cole and Miller County, and to-date $713,368 has been donated to the United Way of Central Missouri and our LTRC partners: Salvarion Army, Samaritan Center, Common Ground, Catholic Charities and Central Missouri Community Action. Over 50% of those funds, or $365,580 have already provided short-term and intermediate support to disaster survivors to help them recover and rebuild. Furthermore, there are additional health and human service agencies, church and organizations that received financial support for disaster survivors--so the amount of financial support spend to-date certainly exceeds that amount--and for this amazing support we are grateful!

The remaining funds donated through the United Way of Central Missouri Disaster Recovery Fund are being used to support long term disaster needs.  Those funds are vetted through case management Catholic Charities, and brought to the Cole and Miller County Long Term Recovery Committee for oversight and approval.  Disaster response best practices call for LTRC resources to be the last resort for disaster survivors once other community resources have been depleted.  Certainly the challenges of the COVID pandemic have further challenged case management work and provided yet another barrier towards recovery, and unfortunately some disaster survivors have been re-impacted and will need additional assistance due to the pandemic.
We have so much to be proud of and so much to celebrate as we look back over the last year—but there is still much work to be done.  We now better understand what the experts meant when they told us it will take over 2 years to help all disaster survivors recover. So we will continue this work and want our community to know how grateful and proud we are that you responded with compassion and generosity and for understanding as we continue this journey.   

Catholic Charities is the local agency leading case management services for tornado and flood disaster survivors. For assistance, contact Catholic Charities at 573-635-7719.



About United Way of Central Missouri

With more than 1,100 volunteers, United Way of Central Missouri and its 28 partner agencies touch more than 114,000 lives in our community, helping people live their best possible lives by fighting for the health, education, financial stability and basic needs of every person in our community. We provide services in nine counties in central Missouri; including Camden, Cole, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Phelps and southern Callaway; to create community solutions that improve life for our families, friends, and neighbors. Since our inception in 1925, United Way of Central Missouri has partnered with local businesses and organizations to remain a vibrant resource in our community. For more information about United Way of Central Missouri, please visit UnitedWaycemo.org. Stay tuned by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@unitedwaycemo).