A week and a half never went so fast.
First, I've received a number of questions about volunteering. From my perspective, the best way to volunteer is to link up with a restaurant, merchant, or resident to help clean-out their store this Saturday (presuming they will be allowed access). You can also volunteer through Howard County, which has been sending groups of volunteers on "missions" around Main Street. I recommend the former only because I know how much it has meant to those affected by the flood. If you do not have a personal relationship with a store owner or resident, there may be opportunities to link up this weekend (stay tuned). Also, in preparation for that opportunity, please be prepared to throw away whatever clothes you wear on Main Street and bring boots.
Second, what has the Ellicott City Partnership been doing? A lot. We continue to distribute $100 check cards and have rolled out a $500 Emergency Relief Grant program, which will begin issuing checks as soon as tomorrow. Individuals and businesses in need of assistance may download the one-page application through this link and submit it back to the ECP by August 22. The Partnership is in discussions to create a public/private panel of representatives from government and nonprofit agencies, which will review grants for larger sums. We hope to see that group established by next week. The thought behind it is that privately raised dollars should not be going towards needs otherwise serviced through government support. While the public support has been tremendous, it is also finite. We need to be responsible, while also nimble in our distribution of funds. On that count, I can't say how proud I am to be a part of the ECP.
Third, please continue to donate and attend the many fundraisers dedicated to the relief effort.
Fourth, this is really exciting:
This Saturday, 9:00 am to 4 pm, the Ellicott City Market will be back in action. It will be relocated to Mt. Ida (next to the Courthouse) and will not only include the normal slate of awesome vendors, but also Main Street merchants and restaurants affected by the flood. There will be music, food, and the most amazing, resilient, and hard-working people you could ever meet. It's gonna be a party, y'all.
Have a great Wednesday loving Ellicott City.