CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Just two weeks after the United Way of Central West Virginia launched a fund to aid workers impacted by the recent water crisis, the West Virginia Emergency Fund has amassed more than $70,000 and will become available for applications Monday.
According to John Ballengee, UWCWV director, the fund received donations not only from local organizations and individuals, but from across the nation, including donors from Florida, Texas, Washington, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
"It reflects exactly what most West Virginians already realize: When there's an issue, people will step up and do their part," Ballengee said.
Distribution of funds is to begin Monday, and the tentative end date for submitting an application is Feb. 21. Affected workers will be able to qualify for as much as $200 in assistance, and Ballengee said the United Way has developed a formula to determine the amount of aid each person will receive.
"We will ask the employer to verify the hours lost and the hourly wage of the worker, and then we'll apply that to a grid we've put together for all of our partner agencies to use," he said.
The fund, which was established in response to the economic impacts of the recent Elk River chemical leak, was created to help those in the service sector who have lost part of their income after many restaurants, stores and hotels were forced to close during the do-not-use water ban issued by West Virginia American Water.
Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow told the Gazette earlier this month while the water crisis did not shut down the economy in the region, it had a severe impact on restaurant, lodging and other hospitality businesses in Charleston and other affected communities.