January 2, 2019
Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund | Press Release

Updates regarding the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will be posted here as they become available. Please check this page regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019

In the wake of the devastating Columbia Gas explosions on Sept. 13, the majority of funds donated to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund – $12 million – have been granted to the affected residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover in three phases of stipend gift checks. For those still experiencing financial hardship from the disaster, the remaining funds may be accessed through a case management process. For locations and contact information, please visit www.eccf.org/gldisasterrelieffund.

Update: Friday, Dec. 14

Next week, residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover still without gas service following the Sept. 13 gas crisis are receiving a third stipend gift in the amount of $575 from Essex County Community Foundation’s Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund. Residents without gas as of Nov. 22 – thanksgiving – are eligible for this phase of funding. This third phase brings the total amount granted from the Fund to $12 million.

Update: Friday, Nov. 21

A second round of stipend gifts in the amount of $750 are being distributed to eligible residents and businesses without gas service as of Nov. 6. THERE IS NO NEED TO REAPPLY. Residents who applied for funds from the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund by the Nov. 5 deadline and were found eligible will automatically qualify for this second round of funding. Eligible residents will be notified via mail if the check will be mailed OR picked up at an application center.

Update: Friday, Nov. 9

As of Friday, November 9, over 8,000 stipend gifts have been distributed to the households and businesses still without gas in the first phase of funding from GLDRF. Plans for phase two will be shared next week to support those who still have not yet had their gas restored.

Update: Saturday, Nov. 3

As of Nov. 3, more than 12,000 applications had been received and $4.6 million in gifts awarded. Please remember this application is separate and distinct from your Columbia Gas claim. To follow up on your Columbia Gas claim, please call 1-800-590-5571.

Update: Monday, Oct. 22

To date, nearly 11,000 applications have been received and more than 7,000 gifts have been delivered, totaling nearly $3.9 million. ECCF has also announced that the deadline to apply for support from the Fund is Nov. 5.

Update: Wednesday, Oct. 17

To date, nearly 10,000 applications to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund have been received and more than 6,000 gifts have been made. Extended hours for drop in application centers were announced last week. Locations and new hours can be found at www.eccf.org/GLDisasterReliefFund.

Update: Thursday, Oct. 11

To date, more than 8,000 applications to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund have been received and more than 3,000 stipend checks cut. You can still apply online at www.GLDRF.org, by calling 2-1-1- or by visiting one of the three Drop-In Centers. For Drop-In Center locations and hours, please visit www.eccf.org/GLDisasterReliefFund.

Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund Volunteers

Update: Tuesday, Oct. 9

Dozens of volunteers have been working to help process the more than 7,000 applications we have received to date for support from the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund. Standard processing time for an update on the status of your application is approximately five business days. For anyone applying for relief from the Fund, please remember this application is seperate and distinct from your Columbia Gas claim. To follow up on your Columbia Gas claim, please call 1-800-590-5571.

Update: Thursday, Oct. 4

One day after the application process opened for relief from the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund, we have received more than 4,000 applications. This task could not have been accomplished with the collective effort of state and municipal leaders, nonprofit organizations and the many volunteers who gave their time to help our affected friends and neighbors.

Update: Monday, Oct. 1

Essex County Community Foundation announces that the intake process for financial support from the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will open on Oct. 3, 2018. If you live in the impacted area, complete information on application procedures can be found in the Oct. 1 press release OR by visiting the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund page.

Update: Sunday, Sept. 30

A list of volunteer opportunities has been posted on the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund page, under the FAQ: How Else Can I Help?

Update: Friday, Sept. 28

More than $850,000 has been raised by ECCF, with many more commitments, fundraisers and foundation requests in the works. Together with the $10 million contribution from Columbia Gas, the new fundraising total for the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund now stands at $10.85 million. ECCF and the Fund’s advisory committee are working diligently with the Commonwealth and local nonprofit organizations to design a system to get these funds, and the vital wraparound services, to those impacted. While trying to be speedy in our response to this tragedy, this collective team needs to ensure that the process is thoughtful, tested and executed in such a way that it makes it as easy as possible for those who need to apply. New information estimates over 10,000 households and businesses have been affected by 7,500 impacted Columbia Gas meters.

Update: Monday, Sept. 24 – Wednesday, Sept. 27

While nonprofits, state and city leaders and MEMA continue day and night to work out the process for efficiently and effectively getting resources and wraparound services to all households assigned to the 8,570 gas meters affected by the fires, we have learned that the number of households impacted by those affected meters has doubled to nearly 17,000.

Update: Friday, September 21, 2018

ECCF, along with an assembly of state and local leaders, MEMA, and area nonprofits are working around the clock to build the infrastructure needed to deliver Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund resources, and vital wrap around services to the victims of the Sept. 13 gas crisis. This team will work through the weekend finalizing the intake process and disbursement logistics. Early next week, our intention is to communicate detailed plans that define when and how individuals, families and businesses from Columbia Gas impacted areas can access this support.

Update: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – Thursday, September 20, 2018

ECCF, an assembly of state and local leaders, MEMA, and area nonprofits work around the clock to build the infrastructure needed to deliver Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund resources, and vital wrap around services to the victims of the Sept. 13 gas crisis.

Update: Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Governor Charlie Baker announced a $10 million dollar contribution from Columbia Gas of Massachusetts to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund. Read the full press release here.

Update: Monday, September 17, 2018

Governor Charlie Baker announced the establishment of the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at ECCF, replacing the Lawrence Emergency Fund. This new fund is set up to allow all three communities to have a leadership role, and work together to respond to the complex and fluid needs that will last for the weeks and months ahead for all those affected.

Update: Sunday, September 16, 2018

ECCF and a panel of 21 state and local government officials and nonprofit leaders meet to organize a system for how the needs of those affected can be most effectively met.

Update: Saturday, September 15, 2018

More than $100,000 is raised for ECCF’s Lawrence Emergency Fund to aid the victims of the Sept. 13 gas crisis. Read the full press release here.

Update: Friday, September 14, 2018

Lawrence Emergency Fund advisors processed an emergency fund disbursement to Greater Lawrence Community Action Council so they can begin distribution to those displaced by the gas crisis as soon as possible. ECCF is closely monitoring the fundraising progress, and will release subsequent funds as they become available.

Update: Thursday, September 13, 2018

The cities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were affected by devastating gas explosions and fires, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old man, multiple injuries and more than 60 homes being leveled or severely damaged. ECCF launches communications for the Lawrence Emergency Fund, setup in 2009 by a group of local philanthropists, to fundraise and provide resources for victims in all three communities. Read the full press release here.

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