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United Way mobilizes to help those in need

From the United Way of Northwest Alabama, to offices across the nation and the world, the United Way is joining the efforts of those reaching out to support those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support one another. COVID-19 is a new test of our collective strength,” notes the United Way’s website. “As millions are on lockdown and businesses are closing, unemployment is spiking. Paying rent and utilities, getting food and finding basics like diapers is tougher than ever before.”

United Way Worldwide has launched the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, which “supports communities by helping local United Ways respond and bolstering 211, the go-to information resource in times of crisis.” According to UW’s website, calls to 211 for help with basics have risen more than 300 percent in some areas and are expected to top 27 million calls over the next six months – more than twice the usual call volume that 211 fields in a typical year. 

The United Way of Northwest Alabama, which serves Franklin County as well as Colbert and Lauderdale counties, will serve through the Northwest Alabama COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which, according to www.uwnwal.org, has been created to help with target areas of concern:

  • Low income families with children
  • Workers whose hours may be cut
  • People who do not have the resources they need to stay safe and well
  • People who need up-to-date information on how to connect to resources
  • People who need assistance with basic human services/needs
  • Support for distressed nonprofit agencies
  • Other target areas, as assessed
  • United Way steps up whenever our communities need us,” notes the United Way at www.unitedway.org/recovery/covid19. “We’re helping communities affected by COVID-19 all over the world.”
  • United Way is also seeking donations to help provide services to those who need them.
  • “United Way Worldwide invests all donations in the mission. Ninety-five percent of all donations will serve the most vulnerable, through local United Ways and 211 operations that are helping people cope,” the agency notes. “That might mean emergency food supplies, helping people cover rent or utilities after losing wages or jobs or working with schools to ensure children from low-wage families have enough to eat when schools are closed.”

According to the United Way, the most common questions to 211 at this time include where and how to get tested, symptoms and clarification about the spread of the virus, fact-checking that there are no vaccines available and what to do if someone is sick but does not have health insurance or a medical provider.

“Calls are also spiking about economic impacts. As millions of students stay home from school and more and more people are losing wages, communities are looking to United Way for help. Hourly workers who need help with food, rent and utility payments to cover lost wages are coming to United Way for short-term help.”

For more information visit https://www.uwnwal.org/ or to seek assistance call 211.

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