Pulling together when times are tough
This is a tale of a very generous, responsive community that must set any number of records in the way it pulls together when times are tough.
On March 17, a fire destroyed the Keene Valley Grocery Store and its ability to serve the community. Many remembered Adirondack Foundation’s role following Hurricane Irene and asked if we could help.
The answer was yes! We deployed the SUN Fund, which is our Special and Urgent Needs Fund to support nonprofit organizations in the Adirondack region in times of need. The SUN Fund can also provide emergency support to local businesses and families in circumstances that meet certain legal requirements, which the Valley Gro fire did.
Word got out rapidly, and gifts flooded in immediately. More than 300 caring donors sent in over $115,000 in the next few weeks (this does not include gifts to the Congregational Church or those made directly). Nearly every donor expressed sadness at the loss of a welcoming community hub. The family-owned Valley Gro has anchored the town for generations.
In order to put these gifts to best use, Adirondack Foundation staff is conferring with the Hall/Reed family and community leaders.
Of the funds raised in response to this devastating fire, $57,620 has been granted as follows:
- $2,000 to fund a free shuttle for Keene residents with no other transportation to shop for groceries in Plattsburgh
- $13,000 to the eight fire departments that responded to the fire, dowsing the flames while protecting surrounding homes and structures from danger
- $42,620 to the Valley Grocery to help bridge the gap for employees suddenly out of work
The mood has changed to excitement now that we know the family will rebuild. As that process gets started, we will stay in step with the family and local leaders to determine how additional grants from this fund can be most helpful.
The way in which the residents of Keene pull together in times of need is an inspiration to us all. Thank you for being who you are and for demonstrating again the power of community spirit.
- Cali Brooks, President & CEO, Adirondack Foundation
Photo credit: Dawn Ormsby