We’re Here for Our Community
The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenging situations and uncertain times, but we know there is hope, kindness, and optimism surrounding all of us.
The United Way staff, donors, and volunteers are impacting our community in new and inventive ways to meet the challenges we are all facing. Together, we continue our fight to meet the education, health, and financial stability needs of every person in our community now more than ever.
WHAT WE KNOW: Our non-profit and community partners are on the front-line of providing support to individuals during this crisis. Their staff may be limited, volunteers reduced, resources stretched further, and demand greater, but together we are serving our friends and neighbors during these difficult times.
Through 211 and direct conversations with our funded and community partners, we know the most critical needs right now are for housing and food assistance, basic needs such as diapers and prescriptions, living expenses, transportation, and childcare.
HOW WE’RE RESPONDING:
Financial Support - We are continuing our monthly allocations to all our current funded partners and have already released $5,500 in emergency funds to be used immediately to address the food insecurity of our most vulnerable populations. Additional funds will be distributed in the coming weeks from our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to expand our assistance and outreach in the community.
Unsheltered Homeless Task Force - We have been working as an active member of the Unsheltered Homeless Task Force that secured at least 20 rooms at the Motel 6 in Star City to house the unsheltered homeless and COVID-19 positive people without a place to isolate and receive support. People have already begun moving in. United Way staff and volunteers coordinated the arrangement with the hotel, facilitated the execution of the contract, and made the initial payment. We continue to work on securing additional funding for the project.
Food for School Age Children and Their Families - We formed a partnership and are talking daily with Pantry Plus More to secure enough food in the county and have enough storage to not only serve the school children and families, but to provide food to pantries in both Monongalia and Preston counties. We recently started recruiting more volunteers each week to pack and distribute food for area school children and their families and have coordinated a multitude of logistics to increase food supply and increase efficiency. Think broccoli, potatoes, apples, banker’s boxes, volunteers, refrigerators, and forklifts to name a few. We are doing our part!
Food Pantry Quarantine Support - The United Way Family Resource Network, Environmental Division of the Monongalia County Health Department, MECCA911, and the Monongalia County Food and Hunger Committee are providing quarantine support to county residents and/or families who are in need of food and sanitization supplies during the COVID-19 response. FRN Manager Jessica Staley is facilitating these efforts with the 11 local Food and Hunger Committee food pantries. A referral questionnaire is completed and forwarded to Jessica at the Family Resource Network for fulfillment. A health department staff member picks up food boxes from food pantries and drops them off to quarantined residences and/or families.
Food Box Assistance - Through our partnership with Caritas House, we are helping the elderly and disabled in need of food and hygiene items. Caritas also serves any family in need as long as they do not have school-aged children in the home. We have provided the organization funding, boxes, food and volunteer assistance as needed. Recipients are being referred by 211 and our Family Resource Network program.
Masks4WV - We’ve partnered with Senator Manchin and other United Ways across the state for the Masks4WV program. We’ve set up three collection sites in Morgantown and have been distributing masks to agencies and healthcare facilities as requested. Since its inception, we have collected and delivered more than 200 masks to partners such as Meals on Wheels, Hazelton Prison, Mountain Line, and food pantries. A few groups have even made some large donations of masks and mask-making materials. We are working with the WVU School of Design and Interior Development who has worked non-stop to make masks and put kits together that can be delivered to others to make masks. SustainU has also pledged to make masks every week until the need is no longer there. A group of 24 in Preston County have contacted us in need of materials to continue their mask-making efforts. We have been working with the WVU group to obtain materials for them. If you are able to sew, we encourage you to get started!
211 - Across the state, we’ve seen a 60% increase in calls to the information and referral hotline since the crisis began. Locally, we are working daily to ensure we have the most up-to-date resources and information available to callers so we can meet their needs.
Joint Information Center Participation - A member of our staff is serving on the Joint Information Center (JIC), which meets virtually twice a week, to learn the latest news about COVID-19 as it becomes available and to disseminate that information quickly and efficiently to the public. The JIC is organized by the Monongalia County Health Department and several agencies, including MECCA 911, the City of Morgantown, Monongalia County Commission, and area police and fire departments, are represented on the committee, as well as politicians and organization members who are responding to community needs.
Communication and Education - We continue to regularly educate the community on important resources and share vital information from other outlets by updating our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Communication is key right now, as keeping updated on the latest news could save lives.
Volunteer Recruitment - We are always in need of volunteers as partner requests change daily. We continue to help our partners recruit volunteers to meet their immediate needs to serve the community. If you are interesting in volunteering, email our Engagement Manager Servando at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Repurposed Supplies - We’ve worked to repurpose items from local healthcare and businesses that are not operational to agencies currently providing services. Such items include food, boxes, gloves, hand sanitizer, supplies, and equipment.
#ThankfulWV - In an effort to create some positive news online, we’ve partnered with other West Virginia United Ways and asked our community to share their photos and videos with the hashtag #ThankfulWV. We’re urging people to share what they’re grateful for on social media to create a powerful wave of positivity during this difficult time.
As always, if you or someone you know needs help, please call 2-1-1 or text your Zip Code to 898-211. Our specialists are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
If you are able, I encourage you to make a gift to the Response and Recovery Fund so we can put it to work in our community. You can donate at https://app.mobilecause.com/e/-4_68A?vid=63bep or text COVID19MPC to 41444.
Thank you to everyone working hard to help our friends and neighbors during these challenging times. Thank you for being part of this difficult work every day. We couldn’t do it without you. #LIVE UNITED
Stay healthy and safe!
Chief Executive Officer