TAVARES — The Lake and Sumter Emergency and Recovery (LASER) program continues efforts to help victims of the Feb. 2 tornadoes to recover from the disaster.
Recently, Florida Conference United Methodist Church began providing case management to identify residents in need of financial assistance. Residents can make an appointment with LASER caseworkers by calling (352) 483-1029.
“We are pleased to announce that United Methodist Committee on Relief will be the lead agency for case management for Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery’s efforts to assist the Groundhog Day tornado victims," said Michael Tart, chairman of LASER. "The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church will work collaboratively with the American Red Cross, the Town of Lady Lake and volunteer case managers from other agencies, organizations and churches.”
LASER strives to coordinate long-term recovery efforts following a disaster. The coalition’s primary purpose is developing a mechanism to manage the flow of volunteers and donations when communities in Lake and Sumter counties are severely impacted by a catastrophe.
The organization has received private donations as well as operational grant monies from Volunteer Florida Foundation, Florida Conference United Methodist Church and Church World Services. Staff from the Lake County Community Development Block Grant Program has identified $200,000 to assist with wells, utility services and septic systems that were destroyed or made unusable. Lake County has also applied for other funds from the state for long-term recovery. To donate to LASER, mail checks payable to Lake County BCC (check note: LASER) to P.O. Box 1985, Lady Lake, FL 32158.
Two fundraisers this weekend will also help to provide funds for residents affected by the Feb. 2 tornadoes. On Saturday, May 19, the Lake Emergency Action Project (LEAP), in association with the Benchwarmers of Clermont, will present a Band Blast Benefit from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Benchwarmers, located at 528 Eighth St. in Clermont. The event includes live entertainment, raffles, door prizes and more. Admission for the event is $10. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free. For more information, call (505)791-9668 or (321) 231-1209.
Also on Saturday, May 19, the First Annual Benefit Poker Run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will benefit local tornado victims. The poker run begins and ends at Benchwarmers of Clermont. Admission is $10 for a single rider and $15 for doubles. The ride will cover approximately 75 miles through Lake County with six stops in all, including one on top of Sugarloaf Mountain. For more information, call (352) 536-7051.