LaGrange and LPD create tornado fundraiser

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The City of LaGrange and LaGrange Police Department have created a fundraiser to help residents impacted by the Jan. 12 tornadoes.

LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar said Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Mitchell and City Manager Meg Kelsey heard from many people who wanted to help people affected by the storm.

“Because of our community outreach program with the police department, they asked if we would spearhead that effort,” Dekmar said. “To make it easy, we set up a GoFundMe account and we’re also looking at some other cash apps that may be available.”

Dekmar said LPD’s community outreach program has helped people with getting medication, housing, food and finding temporary support through nonprofits, faith-based organizations and other government entities.

Mitchell said they found that many of the victims didn’t have a place to stay, so they went to various hotels in the city.

“We’ve been getting some feedback from some motel managers that some of them are running low on funds,” Mitchell said. “We put our heads together and tried to come up with an idea of how we could utilize a one-location donation for funds so that those funds can be directly distributed to the people who were victims of the storm.”

Mitchell said the victims of the tornadoes will have to go through a vetting process that will confirm their need for assistance.

“We’re hoping FEMA will come to evaluate each person’s needs,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully, they’ll get approved, and they’ll get federal resources. The fund is temporary funding to sustain them until they can be vetted through the FEMA program.”

All money raised from this fundraiser will be used to assist with housing and food costs.

“Those funds will only be available to residents that were affected, and we have the addresses and names of those that were and encourage anyone that lives at those addresses to please contact the LaGrange Police Department Community Outreach unit,” Dekmar said. “As those funds become available, we’ll work with them to give them some assistance.”

Those needing assistance will need to fill out a verification form and provide proper documentation. Forms will be available at the LaGrange Police Department located at 100 West Haralson Street.

People who fill out a physical form can drop them off at the LaGrange Police Department or email a completed form to Natalie Belcher at nbelcher@lagrangega.org or Lieutenant Jeremy Butler at jbutler@lagrangega.org

To receive a form via email, send a request to Katie Mercer Van Schoor at kvanschoor@lagrangega.org.

As of 4:02 p.m., the fundraiser had raised $850 of a $50,000 goal.

Dekmar said anyone that wants to donate by either check or cash can stop by city hall or the police department and put it in the fund specifically designated for those that need relief or assistance that were affected by the tornado.

For those interested in donating to the fund, please visit www.gofund.me/32682ffa or donate via Venmo under @LPD-communityoutreach.