United Way

COVID-19 Update: Volunteer Recruitment; Making Safe Donations; Financial Tools; Helping The Homeless

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United Way of Jackson County, along with the Jackson COVID-19 Action Network, is diligently coordinating our community’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Here is a roundup of the latest developments.

REMINDER: If you need immediate assistance with basic needs, call 2-1-1. Central Michigan 2-1-1 will connect you with programs and services to help you.

We’re recruiting volunteers! If you are at in a low-risk group for complications from COVID-19, we need your help with deliveries of essentials to Jackson County residents who are homebound or lack transportation. There are a few requirements: 1) You must be healthy, with no symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness. 2) You must not have been exposed to the virus or in close quarters with someone who has been ill, to the best of your knowledge. 3) You must follow CDC guidelines for washing/sanitizing your hands, maintaining social distancing, etc. 4) You may need to provide your own transportation. Right now we’re just recruiting volunteers, so don’t worry if you don’t hear back for a while. Actual volunteer assignments may take some time. We’re still getting our arms around the types of needs and the resources available to address them. Contact Stephanie Schiro at sschiro@uwjackson.org, or visit our Want To Volunteer page.

Collaborative effort houses homeless. On Friday, the Jackson Interfaith Shelter made the decision to clear the facility of current clients out of concern that so many people in close quarters raised the risk of coronavirus infection. A collaborative effort involving Interfaith, United Way, Community Action Agency, and city and county government found new places for 43 individuals—including 12 children—to stay. In fact, United Way worked with two local hotels to place 28 clients in rooms for one week, plus reserved a room for a homeless woman who gave birth at an area hospital Friday. The hotels offered huge room-rate discounts, and the cost is covered thanks to generous community support for the COVID-19 Response Fund. City of Jackson employees helped Interfaith clients move to their new digs. Interfaith is now working on longer-term options for its clients to minimize risk of infection.

Financial tools and guidance if you’re out of work. With workplaces closing, a lot of people are finding themselves with little or no income. That’s especially frightening for ALICE households that live check-to-check. United Way offers several tools that can help. One, our recently launched online resource, created in partnership with CP Federal Credit Union, offers many resources for budgeting. Click here to get to that page. Two, our partners in Labor have provided a helpful document, “When the Paycheck Stops,” that gives lots of helpful guidance on dealing with a layoff. You can download that document here.

JCAN releases guidelines for safe donations. The Jackson County Health Department developed a two-page guide for residents who either donate or handle donated items to make sure they properly clean those donations. You can download a copy of the guidelines. For those wishing to donate household items, a list of drop-off sites is coming soon.

Subteams focused on key issues. JCAN has formed smaller teams that will zero in on specific needs and concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak. These teams include Public Education, Child Care/Schools, Food Security, Donations, and Mental Health Resources. Details on their work will emerge in the days and weeks ahead.

COVID-19 Response Fund needs donations! Requests for help through our COVID-19 Response Fund are already outpacing donations. We need your help! Please support the Fund, created jointly by United Way and the Jackson Community Foundation. You can make a gift to the COVID-19 Relief Fund by going to our Donate page. Fill out the form, click on “Type of Gift” and select “COVID-19 Response Fund.” You can also text VIRUS to 91999 to make a contribution.