New Paltz Flood Aid Disperses Remaining Funds

After collecting almost $60,000 for the devastation following Hurricane Irene, New Paltz Flood Aid has dispersed most of the remaining funds.

Farmers and families in need were given $57,223. It was raised last October through benefit concerts and fundraisers.

“We’re still waiting for FEMA for some of the damage we have,” New Paltz Village Mayor Jason West said. “More than repairing last year’s damage is the concern because of climate change and shifting weather patterns that this will become a common occurrence.”

While the money has been disseminated to those in need, the scramble to put together a fundraising committee and plan events, including concerts in Oct. 2011 at Hasbrouck Park and Water Street Market, was difficult on its own.

“Irene and Lee occurred in late August, early September. Our main fundraiser was in October. Flood Aid did not exist before these devastating hurricanes,” K.T. Tobin Flusser, member of the Flood Aid Committee, said.

Almost half of the money was allocated to eight major farms: Taliaferro Farm was given $4,824, Evolutionary Organics received $4,560, Bradley Farm was allotted $5,412 and Conuco Farm took in $3,608.

Other farms, such as Old Form Farm, were given $601 while Apple Hill Farm received $3,508. Dressel Farm was given $3,668 and Huguenot Street Farm garnered $2,931.

The distribution depended on “the number of acres lost, the proportion of their total acres lost and whether or not they had insurance,” Tobin Flusser said.

Over the last five months, farmers and families impacted by the storm were given the money. The last funds were sent with the help of the Family of New Paltz.

“Since we were not a 501(c)3, in order to be able to collect and distribute money, we elicited the help of the New Paltz Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Ulster County and Family of New Paltz,” Tobin Flusser said. “Most of the money was distributed by the close of 2011, but there are still some funds available for impacted families through Family of New Paltz.”

Kathy Cartagena, the director of Family of New Paltz, said there were directions on how to distribute the $19,678 they received through Flood Aid.

“Some went to first responders — police, New Paltz Police Benevolent Association, fire company, rescue squad,” Cartagena said. “The remaining portion is going to individuals and families who have suffered through the two floods.”

Cartagena said by the time the money came in, among other things it had to go through the New Paltz Community Foundation before they actually received the money to distribute.

“It couldn’t be an overnight thing. It sounds easy, but it’s not,” Cartagena said.

Cartagena said there is still some money left over and any families or individuals in need should contact her.

“I’m not sure how much to divvy up to the families. I don’t want to give all the money away and then find out I missed two or three families that have hardships,” Cartagena said.