West partners with foundation to handle donations following explosion

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by TODD UNGER

WFAA

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 8:04 PM

WEST, Texas -- Town leaders have decided to partner with the Waco Foundation to handle the majority of private donations coming in since a massive fertilizer plant fire and explosion left part of West devastated.

At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said it was the best way to try and streamline all of the money in a responsible way.

"The council doesn't know how to do that [...] so it was important to get a group that are the big boy's on the block," he said, referring to the Waco Foundation.

The foundation already has set up a West Disaster Relief Fund, which has pulled in about $270,000. Other funds have also been set up, and accounts at the town's two banks total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The hope is eventually the foundation can manage all or most of the money, although exactly how that will happen has yet to be worked out.

There are also questions about how West residents seeking donation money will be able to access it.

Homeowner Richard Sullivan, who lost his house in Zone 3 near the explosion site , said he knows of plenty of neighbors who need financial assistance. 

"They need it and they need it now," he told News 8.


Vanek said they are still working out just who might be eligible for the donation money, and how they could apply for it.  A final decision will hopefully be made in the coming days.

FEMA relief will also be available to homeowners that apply.

Vanek again said details on that application process were still being ironed out with FEMA officials. 

Although the town isn't keeping an official tally on how much private money has come in, News 8 tallied known figures and it is close to $1 million.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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