Coronavirus: Initial recipients of local United Way COVID-19 fund announced

People lined up in March in the Kroger parking lot on South Limestone for the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry The food bank is one of several nonprofits to benefit from a COVID-19 fund established by the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counites. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
People lined up in March in the Kroger parking lot on South Limestone for the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry The food bank is one of several nonprofits to benefit from a COVID-19 fund established by the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counites. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties has begun distributing money from its COVID-19 Community Fund.

The first recipients in Clark County are Interfaith Hospitality Network, Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Second Harvest Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army of Springfield.

ExploreSecond Harvest Food Bank sees surge in demand for services

In Champaign County, the recipients are Caring Kitchen, LifeCare Alliance and the Urbana Champaign County Senior Center.

In Madison County, the fund has so far benefited God Samaritan Food Pantry, HELP House, Jeffersonian Senior Center.

The Second Harvest Food Bank and LifeCare Alliance both benefit multiple counties.

Tyra Jackson, executive director at Second Harvest, said the food bank received $10,000 in Clark County and $6,000 in Champaign through the first round of grants.

“Thousands of households continue to seek assistance due to the pandemic,” Jackson said. “SHFB receives calls daily from people who have never utilized the food bank or any pantry previously. Several are seniors, families who have lost employment income, and others who are quarantined. We have served over 40,000 people already this year, and the funds will allow us to continue meeting the needs in the community.

“It truly makes a difference!”

The UWCCMC announced in March it was creating a fund to benefit individuals and families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, the organization revealed it had raised over $125,000, exceeding the original goal of $100,000.

In its latest announcement, the UWCCMC thanks numerous individual donors as well as a dozen companies.

The latter group consists of Assurant, Community Health Foundation, Delta Armory, Instant Krazy Glue, Meijer, Nationwide, Orbis, Park National Bank, Silfex, Truist, the Della Senor Trust and WesBanco.

“I think the big thing is that we’re grateful for the community’s support of this because there’s so much need, and honestly we think it’s bad now, but we believe that in all truthfulness it’s probably only going to get worse as the summer goes on,” local United Way executive director Kerry Lee Pedraza said in June. “The unemployment and the need is only going to continue to rise, so we’re grateful for everybody who has given dollars to us.”

Money from the COVID-19 Community Fund is available to agencies directly providing services to individuals and families in need.

Those services include providing food assistance and helping community members stay in their homes by providing help paying rent and utilities.

That is among the guidelines for eligibility. Additionally, applicants for grants from the United Way’s “COVID-19 Community Fund” must also be an educational institution, government agency, a 501(c)3 or sponsored by a 501(c)3, provide services within Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties that address food security or housing/shelter, have paid or volunteer staff and a governing board that regularly holds meetings.

Applicants, who were able to request up to $10,000 in round one and eligible to apply for more in addition rounds of funding, also must provide services without discrimination on the bases of race, sex, creed, age or national origin.

The local United Way says every dollar will be kept local, and it is accepting donations on the agency’s website at www.uwccmc.org or via checks sent to Clark Champaign Madison COVID-19 Community Fund, c/o United Way, at P.O. Box 59, Springfield, OH 45501-0059.