As our community continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, two organizations have come together to create the Thurston County COVID-19 Response Fund in support of vital nonprofits, individuals and vulnerable families. United Way of Thurston County (UWTC) and Community Foundation of South Puget Sound (CFSPS) launched the fund on March 16. They immediately received an influx of donations made by generous community members and businesses.
Meals on Wheels Deliveries Doubled
Senior Services of South Sound (SSS) helps seniors in Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties stay active, connected, and well-fed. Their Meals on Wheels program ensures that all seniors have access to at least one complete, nutritious meal per day. With almost all of our community’s seniors now isolated in their homes, the need for this service has skyrocketed. This need for increased services comes at the same time SSS has had to discontinue its regular fundraising activities such as bingo nights.
“The money that this fund has made available fills a critical, rapidly-growing gap in our funding,” explains Brian Windrope, Executive Director at SSS. In the third week of March alone, the number of meals SSS delivered doubled from 700 to 1,400. Windrope anticipates the need will continue to grow. As SSS team members deliver meals, they find more seniors who need and want to enroll in the program because they can no longer leave their homes to grocery shop, and their families might not live in the area to deliver supplies. Windrope emphasizes his gratitude for the combined efforts of UWTC and CFSPS, as well as the many donors who have contributed to the fund.
Hundreds of Containers of Infant Formula Delivered to First-Time, Low-Income Parents
The Nurse-Family Partnership program (NFP) has also benefited from the new fund. NFP pairs registered nurses with first-time parents in low-income circumstances. Their clients represent some of the families who will be hit hardest by this crisis. As of April 1, disbursements from the fund have procured 300 containers of infant formula, 400 jars of baby food, 500 packages of baby wipes and 400 boxes of diapers that will be delivered in compliance with social distancing recommendations by NFP’s visiting nurses.
Organizations that help our low-income and unsheltered population will also benefit from the new funding source. The Community Action Council helps families and individuals cover basic expenses such a rent and utilities, while Catholic Community Services and Interfaith Works provide meals and hygiene supplies to our unsheltered and food-insecure community members. All three organizations have already received financial support from the new fund.
The speed at which this partnership was formed, donations generated, and began providing tangible aid to our community’s most vital nonprofits has given hope to the leaders and beneficiaries of the programs alike. Now is the time to come together and sustain momentum in caring for our community’s most vulnerable.
You can be a part of this movement. Please donate online at www.unitedway-thurston.org/covid-19 or by mail to United Way of Thurston County, 3525 7th Ave SW Suite 201, Olympia, WA 98502.