$315K In Grants Will Assist In Mont Clare Recovery

MONT CLARE, PA — Phoenixville’s concern continues to reach across the Schuylkill to Mont Clare to aid those still struggling to recover from Hurricane Ida’s damaging floods in September.

Groups from Phoenixville have been helping Mont Clare residents cope with flood devastation for many weeks now after homes along the canal were destroyed and residents cleaned up and helped each other.

Mont Clare has been the focus of concerned neighbors who’ve stepped up. Two grants just received will go a long way toward assisting them in that mission. Open Hearth, Inc., a nonprofit organization serving Chester County and portions of Montgomery County, received $300,000 from the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation to help Mont Clare residents affected by Ida get their systems back up, including electricity, heating, and water.

The Jaycees in Phoenixville received $15,000 for the organization’s In This Together PXV Fund, originally intended to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic, but recently pivoted to benefit victims of Hurricane Ida as well, the organization explained in a news statement.

A news statement from Open Hearth said, “Imagine having no choice but to spend your chemotherapy money on a trash dumpster for the debris covering your property. Or settling in a new country with your family, only to end up with your home destroyed and no insurance.”

Those were just two of the situations facing Mont Clare residents after Hurricane Ida and its accompanying floods. Nearly two months later, more than 150 households are still coping with homes left uninhabitable, the organization reported.

Soon after Ida hit, a partnership in the neighboring Borough of Phoenixville came together with the intent of helping victims on the other side of the river separating Chester and Montgomery counties. Participants include Open Hearth, the Jaycees, the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, and Karin Williams, Director of the Phoenixville Office of Emergency Management.

“Phoenixville is fortunate to have the kind of strong community partnerships that enable us to lend a hand to our Mont Clare and Port Providence neighbors in their time of need,” Williams said.

Open Hearth, Inc. is a leader in resource coordination and community building efforts that provides innovative programs to help people to end the cycle of homelessness, acquire affordable housing, a means of transportation, workforce opportunities, and to achieve financial stability.

The Phoenixville Jaycees provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change in their communities and support the good efforts of other organizations in and around Phoenixville.

Phoenixville Mayor Peter Ursheler said, “I continue to be impressed and inspired by the incredible outpouring of support by the members of the Phoenixville Borough for our Neighbors in Mont Clare. The Phoenixville Office of Emergency Management Director Karin Williams has been on the scene assisting in recovery efforts since almost day one.”

Urscheler also recently praised the work of nonprofits working in the Borough. “Our incredible Phoenixville nonprofits have provided food and critical resources, the public works department has provided assistance in trash removal, the Phoenixville Police and Fire company has provided mutual aid, and the Gateway Pharmacy along with West End/Valley Forge Fire Company and the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation has even provided a mobile tetanus shot clinic.”

He said the official organizations were also joined by residents who came together with family members or friends to provide relief. Many gave money and other donations, others pitched in to clean up.

“We are living in extremely challenging times, and many of our neighbors in Mont Clare have a long road to recovery ahead, but the resilience and selflessness shown by so many provides a beacon of hope and reminds us that we will overcome any challenge or storm as long as we work together,” Urscheler said.

A Mont Clare & Phoenixville Clean Up Facebook group started by Jesse Fischer of Phoenixville has 1,500 members. People are still connecting there, sharing what they need and where those in need can find things.

Read a Patch story about community cleanup efforts for Mont Clare here.

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