The heart of Merrill never missed a beat on or since April 10 when a tornado touched down destroying many homes and businesses. In fact, the heart beat was reinforced by other caring and generous people from Tomahawk, Medford, Wausau, central Wisconsin, as well as some from the rest of the Wisconsin, the Midwest and throughout the country.
People showed up to help clear debris, cut downed trees, provide shelter and food for those in need. Volunteers continue to come and assist the property owners who lost so much.
The Merrill Area United Way, as well as many other agencies, churches, and foundations responded to assist those impacted by the tornado. The Merrill Area United Way set forth with a Storm Match campaign, committing $10,000 as a match fund. River Valley Bank established a Help Merrill fund and pledged a match of $25,000 with their fund being shared 50%-50% between United Way and St. Vincent de Paul’s Outreach. They further supported the idea of using their funds to expand the United Way match base.
On May 12, River Valley presented the Merrill Area United Way with a check for $38,601, leaving the full match base at $48,601. At this reporting, those funds have been matched at the level of $52,514. Merrill Area United Way will disburse the funds in a minimum of two phases, with the first phase of $50,000 going to four agencies, The Community Food Pantry, the North Central Community Action Program, Lincoln County Salvation Army, and St. Vincent de Paul Outreach. These agencies are currently providing key support services for affected storm victims. The services include food, shelter, gasoline cards for chain saws, tipping fees, clothing, rental assistance, clean up, coordinated construction support working collaboratively with the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation and any other assistance will be considered.
The Storm Match funds are still coming in and all funds will support the tornado victims and the agencies which bring services to them. For further information on the storm match fund or to make a contribution contact the Merrill Area United Way, P. O. Box 813, Merrill WI, 54452 or call 715-536-2016 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org .