EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – A day after watching a golf fundraiser to help residents of East Palestine, The Way Station’s Chaney Nezbeth was calling the event “inspiring.”
“The response was not just from the local community but from all over the surrounding area. The entire Mahoning Valley was represented n one way or another,” Nezbeth said.
The event featuring golfing legend Annika Sorenstam and her husband Mike Magee brought in more than $400,000.
Nezbeth said the next step will be to determine how those funds will be divided among local charities as well as how they should be used.
“We need a long-range plan, and our community will on that together,” she said.
Directors say one of their priorities will be to expand programs and services, especially for young people, including those who may feel they’ve been left out in the recovery process.
“I think that we may have failed the children along the way in assuming that they’re OK just because they keep going about their day-to-day,” Nezbeth said.
While Nezbeth thinks that assistance can come in the form of buying equipment and supplies or even underwriting fees for youth and student programs, she’s also concerned about the long-term effects on poverty and homelessness in the area — now and into the future.
“We want to be in a position to help with people’s utilities and rent assistance, which we already do but just in a greater impact,” Nezbeth said.
Nezbeth hopes the funds can ultimately help people and families that were suffering even before the derailment and now face an uncertain future as the community recovers.