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Published: Wednesday, 6/23/2010

Tornado victims can apply for $500 gift cards to pay expenses

Victims who lost homes or suffered severe property damage from the June 5 tornadoes in Wood and Ottawa counties can apply for a $500 gift card to help cover uninsured expenses.

The money comes from a $140,000 grant given by the Ohio Department of Development to the area's community action agency WSOS. Of that money, $75,000 will go to victims of the tornado disaster. The remaining funds will help pay for staff working on the ground.

People can apply for the gift cards by calling the United Way 211 helpline or Lutheran Social Services at 419-836-8986. Their property must be listed as destroyed or severely damaged by the county Emergency Management Agency to be eligible.

WSOS spokesman Joyce Huntley said the money is intended to help 50 families in Ottawa County and 100 in Wood County with expenses such as insurance deductibles or rent for temporary housing.

The United Way of Greater Toledo also has begun distributing some of the money collected in fund-raisers throughout the area.

In other news, Medical Mutual of Ohio announced it is deferring health insurance premium payments for storm victims. Members and groups in Fulton, Ottawa, and Wood counties can request a deferral of up to 60 days.

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