SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Update: This post has been updated to reflect the cancellation of the Sullivan County Long Term Recovery Coalition’s Unmet Needs Table meeting that was scheduled for November 16. The next Unmet Needs Table will take place on December 7 at 1:00 PM.

The Sullivan County Long Term Tornado Recovery Coalition (SCLTTR) recently made the first distribution from the Help Sullivan Recover Fund.

That fund is held at the Wabash Valley Community Foundation.

Eight impacted survivors of the March 31st tornado’s cases were presented at the first ‘Unmet Needs Table’ at the end of October. At the meeting, over $135,000 in monetary relief was pledged for building and construction projects. Those eight cases were classified as having the “greatest need” as defined by both FEMA and Volunteer Organizations Active In Disasters (VOAD) a national 501(c)(3) organization, guidelines.

“This is only the first of what we expect to be many, continuing unmet needs tables,” Richard Payonk, Director of SCLTTR, said. “They’ll probably continue well into next year. And with each case, we present a few client cases that the folks participating in the meeting have the opportunity to contribute toward their recovery plan.”

The unmet needs table is a national relief model designed to maximize donor impact and eliminate fraud and duplication of services. Local business, churches and nonprofits join state-wide VOAD members to listen to anonymous individual cases that have been financially vetted by volunteer case managers.

Participants in the unmet needs table then pledge to contribute monetary aid, building materials and volunteer construction services to specific rebuilding plans or projects. 11 local and VOAD member organizations were present at the first table and contributed over $30,000 in monetary donations plus an estimated $180,000 dollars in volunteer construction services.

Of the $135,000 dollar distribution, $109,000 came directly from the Help Sullivan Recover Fund. To date, Payonk said the fund has raised about $1.2 million dollars to date.

“We know it probably won’t be enough because we’ve got 50-70 more clients to help, this is why we continue in the public to encourage our local businesses, churches, nonprofits, come to the unmet needs table and see if there’s something you can contribute, either money, materials, or muscle, what we call volunteer services,” Payonk said.

Payonk encourages community participation at the upcoming Unmet Needs Tables where more client cases will be presented. The sessions take place at Sullivan City Hall Council Chambers at 110 N. Main Street.

The remaining sessions in 2023 are as follows:

  • Thursday, December 7 at 1:00 PM

Due to the sensitivity of each case, the sessions are not open to the public. Entry is limited to only local organizations and business representatives for purposes of considering resource contributions. Members of the public interested in contributing to the recovery effort can donate online at Donations can also be mailed to the Wabash Valley Community Foundation at 200 South 8th Street, Terre Haute, IN 47807. Mailed donations should include the memo: ‘Help Sullivan Recover.’