Few communities are being battered by 2020 quite as much as Hammond and the North Township. COVID-19, floods, and other storm damage hit the community all at once in May, when a Memorial Day weekend storm poured through the area. For Frank J. Mrvan, North Township Trustee and his team, this meant it was time to enact one of their primary missions – providing emergency relief.
“It was a devastating storm, and we knew right away that we’d need to provide services,” said Kiyla Holloway, Community Development Coordinator at the North Township Trustee Office. “Many people’s basements were flooded during the height of the stay-at-home order, so a lot of them weren’t even supposed to be leaving their homes. Imagine being a senior or having a pre-existing condition, and you’re supposed to stay inside to be safe, but then your home floods.”
At the time the storm hit the trustee had already established a COVID-19 Rapid Response Team. Thankfully, this meant the infrastructure to quickly help the community was already in place. It took them less than a day to prepare aide for North Township residents in the form of $30 Visa gift cards. In total, they gave away 950 gift cards, totaling almost $29,000 overall.
“We wanted to give residents a way to grab essentials from wherever they found appropriate,” Holloway said. “If we’d done say, Target gift cards, everyone might’ve gone to Target only to see all the cleaning supplies gone. We went with Visa because it gave residents the freedom to go wherever they needed.”
Not long after they distributed the gift cards, the North Township Trustee partnered with the American Red Cross to host a drive-thru giveaway of cleaning supplies at Wicker Memorial Park. Every visitor received a bucket filled with bleach, sponges, masks, gloves, and other essentials.
“Our residents needed cleaning supplies. We did as much as we could to respond to their needs by establishing these distributions. Afterwards, we got a lot of calls at the office that just wanted to say thank you,” Holloway said.
Holloway noted that such a rapid, cohesive response was only possible thanks to Frank J. Mrvan, North Township Trustee’s leadership.
“For the Trustee, this is simply about meeting the needs of the people in any way that he can,” she said. “That’s always been the mission here, for the last 15 years it’s been his focus. He has a heart for the people.”
To learn more about Frank J. Mrvan, North Township Trustee, visit northtownshiptrustee.com.