A message from United Way of Grant County Director Alicia Hazelwood:

In response to current and future effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting need for social distancing, United Way of Grant County has created the COVID Assistance Fund to support local at-risk populations.

During this time, United Way recognizes the hardships facing many of our families and neighbors. This public health situation is changing all of our lives in unique and challenging ways.

Our support network of food pantries, community assistance programs and others are already seeing a surge in requests for assistance. They anticipate the need to increase as local workers are faced with a reduction in hours and income. A growing number of residents in the low/middle income bracket are at risk and in need of assistance.

Of course, the immediate need is for public health education regarding the importance of protecting families, neighbors and ourselves. As social distancing continues, that need is changing to keeping people fed and keeping them secure in their homes. This change requires us to act swiftly and strategically – and we are doing all that we can for those who count on us.

The COVID Assistance Fund will help our community in the following ways:

Make sure local social service organizations have the resources they need to assist community members with obtaining basic needs, such as food, rent and utilities. We anticipate that there will be alterations to physical structures and/or additional equipment and supplies that will be necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of agency staff and volunteers, as well as the patrons who visit their facilities.

Strengthen our network of service and assistance organizations to make local programming easier to access. We want our network to operate more efficiently and more effectively in Grant County to serve the needs of at-risk populations.

Ensure the development of sufficient childcare capacity and early childhood education opportunities for Grant County youth, especially (during this pandemic) for healthcare and emergency workers.

Encourage and support partnership strategies and solutions with local businesses to meet the immediate and long-term needs of residents in need.

Develop better access to current local information, especially when in a crisis mode.

Work with educators, parents and students to ensure that educational opportunities remain high, whether or not students are in a physical classroom.

Promote technology upgrades that allow for secure, work-from-anywhere solutions for local workers. Encourage companies to identify and develop work-from-anywhere solutions for their workforce.

United Way has been joined by Meijer who have made significant initial contributions to the Emergency Assistance Fund. If you would like to join us in supporting those affected by this crisis, this is your opportunity to donate. Visit unitedwayofgrantcounty.org or call 765-662-9811 for more information to designate your donation as part of the Emergency Assistance Fund. Thank you for your commitment to Grant County.

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