By Ashley A. Jones
In response to the overwhelming wildfires that have victimized hundreds of Inland Empire residents, Riverside and San Bernardino mayors along with corporate officials met last week at San Bernardino City Hall to announce the formation of a special Fire Victims Relief Fund.
During his remarks, Mayor Morris highlighted the course of action taken by the two counties in supporting those who have experienced the devastation and aftermath caused by the wildfires.
Mayor Ron Loveridge of Riverside agreed with his colleague in the importance of the two neighboring cities stepping up to make a difference in the lives of victims. He said, " I've heard some say that cities ought to stay within their city limits, understanding the consequences of that, Southern California would be in ashes. The City of Riverside and residents of Riverside want to say by our commitment that we understand, as the fires have been close, the victims have had to put their lives back together and we want to do what we can to help by extending a hand."
The businesses and government agencies that stepped forward to provide contributions are: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians with $100,000, Stater Bros. Corporation with $20,000, Arrowhead Credit Union with $20,000, Altura Credit Union with $20,000, San Bernardino District Attorney Michael Ramos in partnership with American Corrective Counseling Services with $20,000, City of Riverside with $20,000, City of San Bernardino with $20,000, County of Riverside with $20,000, Matich Corporation with $10,000, SE Corporation with $5,000, and JJC Project Management with $4,000.
The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties will oversee all funds received, and every dollar contributed will go directly to the Fire Victims Relief Fund as reported by President and CEO of the Foundation, Dr. Jim Erickson.
According to Dr. Erickson, "One hundred percent of the funds will go to the victims within the two counties and hopefully we will meet their needs. With the two mayors taking the lead, along with Board of Supervisors Dennis Hansberger and John Tavaglione, it's just the right combination. That's what I'm impressed with. I'm also impressed with the variety of organizations that have come forward, and San Manuel for setting the tone with the $100,000 commitment."
Representing the Office of Mayor Pat Morris, Peggy Hazlett explained, "After the 2003 fires, cash relief was one of the immediate needs for our communities who were directly impacted. The dollars raised through this effort will go directly to fire victims and more importantly, they won't have to go through a long process of filling out paperwork, they will have a simple application process and receive the necessary funds. I think the most significant part about this is that one hundred percent of the funds go to victims of the fire."
For information on how to contribute to this fund please contact Michael S. Tracey at The Community Foundation, Riverside by calling (951) 684-4194 ext. 116.
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