Storm relief fund grows to nearly $108,000, distribution started

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – More than $100,000 to help victims of the April storms has been raised through the Tornado Relief 2011 campaign, the CREATE Foundation said Thursday.

In June, a two-hour fundraiser held at The Mall at Barnes Crossing raised more than $53,000.

CREATE is administering the fund and distributing all of the proceeds.

The fundraiser, a partnership among Northeast Mississippi media outlets, was originally slated to raise $50,000. But the strong response led CREATE President Mike Clayborne to raise the goal to $100,000.

Clayborne said $107,575 had been raised as of Wednesday.

“We’ve started to distribute money,” he said.

The city of Smithville and the Monroe County United Way are assured of receiving funds, and the rest of the money will be given to nonprofit groups selected by CREATE.

Some of the money pledged to the fund is specifically targeted as designated by the donors, but most of the money is unrestricted.

“That gives us flexibility” in determining where to allocate the money, Clayborne said.

About 95 percent of the money pledged to the relief effort has been collected, and donors are encouraged to send checks to the CREATE Foundation, P.O. Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802.

Clayborne also said CREATE will continue to accept donations to the fund.

“The needs are great, and this isn’t an overnight deal. It will take weeks, months, years,” he said.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com