March 18, 2020 4:00 pm
Local providers scramble to maintain vital services
Madison County, IN - Area pantries, shelters and basic needs providers are working to continue services as the community, country and world contend with COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, things are changing so quickly that misinformation is bound to occur,” said United Way of Madison County President Nancy Vaughan. She added that every United Way in the country is dealing with a misleading viral Facebook post that recommends people call a specific number to access a COVID-19 relief fund.
People in need of services can still call 2-1-1 from anywhere to be directed to a local information and referral center. “Here, we are working with all local human service providers, health care organizations, schools and businesses to assist those in need,” said Vaughan. Plans include:
- Collecting service information from partners to provide updates to Indiana 211 and at www.unitedwaymadisonco.org.
- Increasing access to the Thrive Network, a collaborative partnership that helps people connect to immediate services and work with coaches to develop a plan to achieve financial stability.
- Maintaining communication with local and state networks through the Covering Kids & Families Coalition, Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP), Indiana United Ways and with United Way Worldwide in order to address emerging needs quickly and effectively.
United Way of Madison County has a limited amount of discretionary funds as well as reserve funds that the board may consider directing to needs. However, Vaughan cautions that the 2020 budget is already using reserves due to a shortfall in the annual campaign. “We plan to maintain services, and we will address emerging needs as we are able, but we encourage those that can to support human services now,” she said.
United Way Worldwide is establishing a fund, as are a number of local United Ways. United Way of Central Indiana, serving Marion and surrounding counties, is leading a fund for those communities; but this does not include Madison County.
Contributions to United Way of Madison County may be made at www.unitedwaymadisonco.org/give or by mail to P. O. Box 1200, Anderson, IN 46015-1200.