Monday, August 1, 2016

Ellicott City - August 1, 2016

First things first, if you are a resident or business owner, the Howard County Fire Department Information line is 410-313-2900.  You can call this number to get information about your building or any concerns about pets that were left behind.  Please do not call this number unless absolutely necessary.  There will be an information session this afternoon, 4:30 pm, at the Howard County Senior Center, 9411 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, Md. 21042, which will provide more general information about repair efforts and when people will be allowed to access their property.

Second, for those who want to help, the following nonprofits are collecting funds to help business owners, residents, and property owners:
There are also "GoFundMe" pages for individual businesses:
Update:  Some additional GoFundMe pages I have been asked to share:
Second Update:  My personal friends Matt and Lexi Milani have a GoFundMe page:

If you see an ambiguous website offering to "Help Rebuild Ellicott City", be wary of contributing.  I hate to say it, and I hate to see it, but some people will look to profit from tragedy.

Third, for all of the wonderful people who want to give their time or resources to help, please consider waiting until there is a request at hand.  We seem to have done a great job of collecting things, but not as good of a job at finding out what people actually need.  You can sign up to volunteer via this link.

There will be a lot more to say and a lot more to do, but for now what is more important is to collect information, plan for volunteer roll-out, and prepare for the same.  It is possible that volunteers may not be able to engage for a number of weeks.

Also, consider this paraphrased advice from our (amazing) new director of tourism, Anthony Cordo - the best way the public can help the victims is to promise to come back once they reopen.  Be compassionate, be courageous, be determined, but don't let the disaster out-size your town.

And finally, it is ok to feel helpless and anxious.  I feel so much of that myself.  But it is better to be helpless than in the way.