Area agencies teaming up to help the hardest hit by coronavirus outbreak

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Area nonprofit agencies have come together to help people whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus outbreak and have raised nearly $1 million to do so already. Calling the pandemic one of the biggest public health crises in history, the non-profit organizations point out that businesses have been cutting back, parents have been scrambling to find childcare, and the food and housing sectors face unprecedented challenges.

To better face down these problems, United Way of Dane Co., Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane Co., Selfless Ambition and other organizations are teaming up to provide financial help to those hardest hit by the crisis. At the time of the announcement, the agencies said they’ve already raised $885,000 for the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund.

VOLUNTEERS WANTED: The United Way of Dane Co. is also looking to recruit volunteers who can deliver food, work with housing and food panties, or help with child care. They are also trying to connect agencies needing help with ones who may have volunteer manpower, offering examples like, matching EPIC employees with Meals on Wheels or TASC employees donating masks to Porchlight. Anyone who can volunteer is asked to go to www.volunteeryourtime.org.

HOW THE MONEY IS USED: The agencies say they are taking two approaches to how they plan to use the donated funds, meeting emergency needs in the short-term and finding long-term response and recovery. They also note that no administrative costs will be assessed for either of them. They broke down each approach as:

SHORT-TERM EMERGENCY: It focused on individual and families’ immediate needs. This fund is operated by Boys & Girls Club and Selfless Ambition and fundraising closes on March 20. Grant decisions will be made by May 15 and will be directed to:

  • Medical supplies for those impacted by this virus
  • Meals for kids due to school closures
  • Local shelters as they assist families and individuals
  • College students in need of temporary housing and meals
  • Senior citizens in need of meals, transportation and medical assistance

LONG-TERM EMERGENCY: It focused on providing resources to nonprofits, individuals and families. This fund is operated by United Way of Dane County and will remain open for the foreseeable future. This fund is focused on:

  • Food/meals for older adults and children
  • Eviction prevention
  • Homelessness prevention
  • Flex fund (flexible dollars to respond to other crises that individuals, families or nonprofits experience)