As coronavirus reverberates across hospitals, offices, schools, and homes, we are reminded of our most basic shared value. We know that all of us depend on each other for a healthy community. The same priority guides our concern for those most economically vulnerable in a pandemic. This includes the families of hospitality, retail and other hourly workers, those experiencing homelessness, and children relying on school for one or more meals each day, among others.
With public events, schools and workplaces shuttering as the pandemic unfolds, hourly, low-wage workers will experience unprecedented financial hardship. The problem is acute for hospitality workers, retail workers, and other hourly workers, many living paycheck to paycheck, with no clear options for recouping lost wages. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of children rely on federally funded school-based programs for one, two or more meals each day. As schools and businesses across the Seacoast close in the wake of COVID-19, the demand for food assistance will increase for these children and their families.
United Way has established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. We will mobilize our broad network of nonprofit agencies throughout the region to provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis. These agencies have a proven and long track record of working with United Way to administer flexible emergency assistance for families impacted by income disruption. Grants will be made to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis meet their basic food, childcare or housing needs.
Additionally, the NH 2-1-1 statewide consumer hotline will provide ongoing help during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Individuals can dial 2-1-1 for comprehensive information and referrals related to the virus, including information on where they can access flexible funds through the COVID-19 Family Support Fund.
In this uncertain time, many nonprofit agencies themselves will face financial disruption. Postponed or canceled fundraising events, leading to a loss of funding that community-based organizations depend on for their regular program work and operations will put serious pressure on nonprofit operating budgets.
United Way will coordinate fundraising efforts with the broader philanthropic community to ensure that the nonprofit organizations that have been stressed by the crisis have the resources they need to meet the community’s need.
For people who wish to request funds:
NH 211 INFO: If you are in need yourself, information on how to access emergency assistance funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic is available through 211 NH. From outside of New Hampshire you can dial 866-444-4211 or dial 211 if you are in New Hampshire to be connected to an operator who can best assist you and refer you to agencies in your area. The 211 NH helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Additionally, 211 NH has a website: http://www.211nh.org/ that offers a search function for available resources. There is also a contact form: http://www.211nh.org/contact/ that can be filled out and submitted online.
INQUIRIES ABOUT THE FUND:
For general questions about the Covid-19 Family Support Fund, please contact Linda Lorrey at LLorrey@supportunitedway.org or 603.768.1332.
For interested philanthropic and business partners, please contact Sarah Tremblay at email@example.com or 603.373.9117.
For agencies in need of support, please contact Lauren Wool at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603.373.9119.
For media inquiries about United Way of Massachusetts Bay & United Way of the Greater Seacoast’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic, please contact Brigid Boyd at email@example.com or 617-624-8252.