United Way of Central Minnesota has launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund to mobilize the caring power of Central Minnesotans to support the emerging critical needs of our community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Through this fund, United Way staff have already disbursed $100,000 to local organizations to meet the needs of those experiencing loss of income or housing crises, families in need of childcare and access to food, and supporting the overall health of our community. A grant of $25,000 was directed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, as staff continue to meet the needs of families in the community, by providing childcare to frontline emergency and health care workers, distributing more than 4,500 grab and go meals to youth weekly and virtual programming to connect with youth in need during the school closure.
“We have a very strong partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, and we know that these dollars will be invested wisely,” said Larry Olness, President/CEO of United Way of Central Minnesota. Olness said that United Way staff noticed how quickly the Club stepped up to address the childcare issue in the community during the pandemic, and they knew the Club would require financial assistance to continue to operate these programs.
Olness explained that United Way typically funds organizations for a 2-year period in order to affect systemic change, but they needed to act quickly to meet the needs of the community in this particular circumstance.
“We realized the situation with COVID was rapidly changing, and we needed to respond accordingly,” said Olness.
Olness explained that this relief fund still aligns with United Way’s top priorities, which are: education, health and financial stability. To that end, during COVID-19, United Way is supporting our frontline workers and their childcare and distance learning needs, mental health support, families in crisis, and access to food.
United Way offers a number of opportunities for people to make a difference during the pandemic. Click: https://www.unitedwayhelps.org/covid-19-learn-more to learn more. On this page, the community is encouraged to make a financial contribution to support relief efforts. United Way also provides some volunteer opportunities, including making masks for essential workers, cards of gratitude and more. Community members can even email a message of thanks to essential workers simply by clicking on this page.
“We are all fortunate to live in Central Minnesota, because here people respond quickly when needs arise to help our fellow citizens,” said Olness.
“Now, more than ever, in this stressful time, we are reminded that the people of Central Minnesota have a kind and generous spirit unlike anyone anywhere else in the world,” said Mary Swingle, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota. “We are so grateful for the support and partnership we have with United Way, and we know that so many people in our community LIVE UNITED with United Way’s purpose and have made this funding possible. Thanks to our community for LIVING UNITED. We are all in this together!”