SCCAP flood relief more than a quarter-million


By Jim Poole

Money for flood victims is flowing out almost as fast as it's coming in.
The Schoharie County Community Action Program has received more than a quarter-million dollars in donations for flood relief, and victims have received much of that.
SCCAP is the lead agency for monetary donations, which have come from fundraisers, special events and private contributions.
"It's not only for households but for businesses and churches, too," said Cherie Stevens, on SCCAP's board of directors.
Ms. Stevens chairs the Schoharie County Flood Relief Committee, which includes reps from Catholic Charities, Head Start, Social Services and the Board of Supervisors.
The relief committee oversees the money distribution.
So far, more than 200 families and individuals have received the same amount--$500 each.
Recipients must complete a form, including describing flood damage, and generally receive their $500 in cash in a week.
"It doesn't matter if they had flood insurance or how much they make," Ms. Stevens said.
"And we don't ask what they use it for. It could be a month's rent, whatever."
The committee has rejected only two requests, Ms. Stevens said, from individuals who didn't suffer flood damage.
She's not sure whether the $250,000-plus that's come in so far includes money raised from David Letterman's appeal on The Late Show last Monday.
Still, however, donations are strong. Stone Fort Days, held this weekend in Schoharie, is collecting donations for the effort.
Ms. Stevens isn't sure how long the money will last, but the committee will distribute all of it.
If requests stop coming in, those who received $500 earlier may apply again, Ms. Stevens said.
But she doesn't think that will happen.
"It seems like a tremendous amount of money, but when you're giving out $60,000 a week, it goes pretty fast," Ms. Stevens said.
SCCAP also received a $120,000 Community Block grant from the state that will aid income-eligible families.
Those families are also eligible for the general donations, Ms. Stevens said.
All families receiving money can stretch their donations by getting free food and cleaning supplies from SCCAP's distribution center at the former Movie Gallery in Cobleskill and donated clothing from many sites around the county, Ms. Stevens said.
The distribution center--"The Store," SCCAP calls it--will remain open for a while, Ms. Stevens said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursed SCCAP for running the center, but the reimbursement ended last Monday.
"Now the burden falls on SCCAP to run The Store," Ms. Stevens said. "We can use volunteers but we need one staff member there.
"The SCCAP employees have done a great job of keeping it going."