Seven states have been severely impacted, with thousands of people evacuated and untold destruction to homes and businesses.
"United Way is committed to the mid- and long-term needs of the communities affected by the disaster," United Way CEO President Brian A. Gallagher said. "We intend to be a constant and very visible partner to the individuals and families of this region in their efforts to rebuild their lives."
The focus of the fund will be to support the rebuilding of lives and communities. Projects may include ensuring quality education, improving the financial stability of those affected and improving access health care, including mental health services for those affected by the tragedy.
United Ways throughout the affected states are working together and with community partners and volunteers, the organization is developing strategies to address the long-term needs of communities.
United Way also takes a leadership role in ensuring the strength of 2-1-1, a three-digit number that may be dialed for people who need services or for those who want to offer help. Thousands of people in the region are getting connected with the services they need through the number, such as finding temporary shelter. The number provides an invaluable service in times of crisis, providing maximum community access to critical resources and information to help reduce the harmful effects of the disaster.
United Way's community partnerships will be critical to the long-term recovery efforts. United Way is a member of both the Coordinated Assistance Network (CAN), formed to coordinate relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters, and the Major Relief Agency Consortium (MRAC), co-chaired by American Red Cross and the United Way.
Within the network, the initial response to disasters is led by the American Red Cross while United Way takes the lead in long-term recovery. Red Cross and United Way are joined by partners such as Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Alliance of Information and Referral System (AIRS), Salvation Army, FEMA and many others.
People who live in the region and want to volunteer to help with flood relief efforts are being encouraged to register at the United Way of Central Iowa's website, www.unitedwaydm.org, or by calling 2-1-1. United Ways in the Midwest are not looking for volunteers from outside the region at this time.
Financial donations may be made by credit card online at www.liveunited.org, or by phone at 1-866-404-5826.
Checks may be mailed to United Way, in care of One World Communications, 5195 Hamstead Village Way, Suite 135, New Albany, Ohio, 43054. Checks should be made to the United Way and include "United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund" on the memo line.
For more information, call 1-866-404-5826.