Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor and Beth Francis of the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) joined Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant in announcing a $10 million contribution by Columbia Gas to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. The Fund will help serve the short and medium term needs of impacted residents, including housing, sustenance and support services.
The relief fund, which will be managed by the Essex County Community Foundation, was announced Monday by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, along with leaders from Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover and other state leaders.
“The gas explosions in greater Lawrence have devastated families and displaced many people, and this generous contribution from Columbia Gas will help residents with immediate needs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This donation will jumpstart efforts to support the Merrimack Valley with access to short term assistance and services during a most difficult time.”
“After the gas crisis, we are in the process of rebuilding the greater Lawrence area, both mentally and physically,” said Mayor Daniel Rivera. “I want to thank Columbia Gas for living up to their corporate responsibility with this $10M donation, and I will continue to advocate and fight alongside Town Managers Maylor and Flanagan, Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito to ensure that no resident affected by the gas crisis has to worry about cost as we work to repair our communities.”
“The citizens of greater Lawrence are truly hurting, and our hearts go out to the entire community,” Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant said. “The people of these communities expect us to provide comprehensive and meaningful support, and we are committed to doing so. In addition to the direct assistance we are providing -- and will continue to provide -- to our customers, this contribution represents our commitment to the long term recovery of the entire community.”
Donations for the Sept. 13 fire victims are currently being made to the Lawrence Emergency Fund at www.eccf.org/LawrenceEmergencyFund. Once the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund is formally activated, the donations will be combined. Both funds will support the work of meeting the needs of people affected in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
Columbia’s helpline for customers affected by the Sept. 13 incident is 1-866-388-3239. Columbia also is assisting all impacted residents with their immediate needs, such as food, child care and reasonable accommodations for displaced residents. To file an assistance claim, residents can call the Columbia Gas Property Claims Helpline at 1-800-590-5571 or learn more about the assistance process and the location and hours of local claim centers. Claim centers will remain in operation to serve Merrimack Valley residents throughout the recovery process.
General assistance also is available via the Recovery Resource Center at Arlington Middle School, 150 Arlington St., Lawrence, established to provide services and programs to meet the needs of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover residents.