United Way Board Approves Funding for Polk County Disaster Relief

The United Way of the Ocoee Region’s Executive Committee approved funding to assist in the long term recovery of Polk County residents whose homes were impacted during the November 30 tornado.


The National Weather Service confirmed a category EF-3 tornado hit the area, with wind speeds between 136 and 165 mph. The Polk County Emergency Management Agency estimates the damages from the storm to be three miles wide and four and a half miles long. 


United Way has convened its standing Polk County allocation panel, which is comprised of Polk County residents and is active every year in stewarding Polk County campaign dollars. In addition to funding, United Way has also committed staff members to provide case management for the residents affected by the tornado to determine the needs and the path to redevelopment. All funding decisions will be made by the Polk County Allocation Panel. 


According to Chief Steven Lofty, the West Polk Fire and Rescue had everyone located within an hour of the tornado’s touchdown and have already completed windshield assessments to determine preliminary damage assessments, which will expedite the long term recovery efforts. 


“The quick and efficient work of Chief Lofty and his team have already produced an amazing advantage in getting the community back to its ‘new normal’ as quickly as possible,” said United Way of the Ocoee Region’s President and CEO, Matt Ryerson. 


While United Way is focused on the long-term recovery, there are some immediate items that can be donated to the crisis relief effort: laundry detergent, garbage bags, mops, brooms, buckets, and cleaning supplies. Drop off at United Way of the Ocoee Region (85 Ocoee St. SE, Cleveland, TN 37311).