AVMF working to get help where it’s needed

Help is on the way for veterinarians facing hardship as residents of coastal states hit by Hurricanes Michael and Florence struggle to rebuild their homes, neighborhoods and lives.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) has awarded a $20,000 disaster relief grant to the Florida Veterinary Medical Association Foundation to boost animal care in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. The funds will be divided between small animal care, and care for horses and other large animals.

The AVMF, the charitable arm of the AVMA, also recently donated $10,000 to the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation and another $10,000 to Friends of the NCVMA Foundation to provide immediate assistance to veterinarians and shelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

The AVMF also has additional disaster grants available for individual veterinarians affected by Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence, or other disasters.

  • Disaster Relief Grants provide up to $2,000 to cover out-of-pocket expenses for items such as clothing, temporary housing, transportation and meals incurred by AVMA members or veterinary students immediately following a disaster such as a hurricane or flood.
  • Disaster Reimbursement Grants for Veterinary Medical Care of Animals offer reimbursement of up to $5,000 to cover out-of-pocket expenses incurred by AVMA members in providing emergency veterinary medical care to animal victims of disasters.

We strongly encourage AVMA members who need help due to the recent hurricanes or other disasters to take advantage of these programs, which are a tangible benefit of belonging to the AVMA.

One veterinarian’s story

For Dr. Steven Stelma, a North Carolina companion animal practitioner who serves as his state’s alternate delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, living through Hurricane Florence “was emotionally devastating and physically devastating. After the storm we were the only veterinary practice within probably 50 miles that had electricity, so we had a flood of emergency patients and boarding requests, and we tried to help as many as we could.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Stelma’s own family was coping with hurricane cleanup. “I live near the river, and … my house flooded with 8.5 feet of water,” he said. “While my practice is back up and running as normal, I’ll personally be out of my house from anywhere from four to six months.”

Grant programs such as the AVMF’s can make a huge difference in the lives of those who live through disasters, Dr. Stelma said. As survivors work to regain normalcy, “every little bit helps.”

Can you help?

If you were fortunate enough not to be in harm’s way during the hurricanes, please consider helping the affected veterinarians and animals by making a donation in support of these programs. The AVMF will help as many of our colleagues as possible, but we need your support.