Charity fund awards grants

  • Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 17, 2007 - 11:07 PM

Among the first beneficiaries are children and youth workers from Waite House, which had one of its school buses on the bridge.

The Minnesota Helps-Bridge Disaster Fund announced Monday that it awarded its first six grants to organizations helping victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.

The fund, which now totals $720,000, was organized by several Twin Cities philanthropic foundations shortly after the Aug. 1 collapse to pool contributions from the community. The fund then gives grants to organizations helping victims.

As of Monday, the fund had given out a total of $213,998 in grants, with the largest share, $163,473, going to Pillsbury United Communities for immediate and continuing needs of children and youth workers from Waite House, one of the community centers it runs. A school bus carrying children in a Waite House program was on the bridge when it collapsed.

Therapists are continuing to help the 52 children who were riding the field-trip bus, said Cheryl Jensen, vice president of the group's neighborhood centers.

"Some of them are still having trouble with the buses, or even going over a bridge, so it's how to deal with their anxiety regarding those issues," Jensen said.

The other grants:

• $4,000 to Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio for initial and follow-up counseling and therapy.

• $6,175 to Family and Children's Services for immediate crisis intervention, family stabilization services, mental health and future clinical services.

• $10,000 to Metro Critical Incident Stress Management Team for services, outreach, education and support to service responders.

• $15,000 to Survivor Resources, a nonprofit offering grief support for family members of deceased victims and meetings for bridge collapse survivors and those who assisted in rescue efforts.

• $15,350 to United Cambodian Association of Minnesota for assistance with funeral expenses, legal counseling and translation to surviving family members.

Organizers of the Minnesota Helps fund say 100 percent of the money will be distributed over the coming weeks and months.

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