It’s been a long, hard, traumatic 2 weeks for our employees hit hardest by Florence. It’s not over. Just as the storm was slow and relentless; the rivers are still pushing water toward the coast, compromising roads and bridges. Like the storm, recovery will be a marathon not a sprint.
More than 600 of our colleagues experienced significant impact. We are grateful that they evacuated and stayed safe during the storm. But our front line in New Bern, Wilmington and inland continue to discover and deal with great personal property loss. Homes flooded and not livable; homes totally destroyed; trees on and through roofs; cars washed away; and lives forever changed. Many Wilmington staff still cannot get back into Wilmington to assess their personal property damage.
Throughout preparing for Florence, getting through the storm and after, our front line direct care staff, supervisors and managers have continued to be courageous and concerned about their caseloads and families. Many have gone above and beyond to take care of their clients. In the weeks ahead, you will hear more about our front line heroes.
Today, I want you to know about our efforts to support our colleagues in need:
1. Our hourly employees in areas devastated by Florence who were not able to work during the past 2 weeks because of conditions beyond their control will still be paid for that time period.
2. We’ve started a Hurricane Florence Staff Recovery Fund specifically to help our hardest hit front line employees buy groceries & supplies as they try to rebuild their lives. We will raise money online for this purpose.
3. We’ve hired an internal FEMA benefits coordinator to help Easterseals UCP employees navigate that process.
4. Our Easterseals UCP Licensed Mental Health Clinicians will offer counseling support to employees who want help.
We must do all we can to support our front line so that our front line can support our clients and families who need them.
We are Better Together.Luanne Welch Easterseals UCP CEO