United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) has raised $143,000 to support families and individuals financially affected by the novel Coronavirus. About 42% of this COVID-19 fund has been distributed since April. Executive Director Elizabeth Shelton said these funds are going to nonprofits in the UWSEMO network that provide emergency assistance with utilities, shelter, and food, including The Salvation Army, several regional food pantries, Hope for One More Children’s Home, Habitat for Humanity, Community Partnership, and Safe House for Women. Funds also will help struggling families, senior citizens, children, and other individuals supported by Voices for Children/CASA, Lutheran Family and Children Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, SADI, Tiger Lilies, and a Family Transition Team comprised of social workers from many area social services in and outside of the UWSEMO network.
Shelton explains: “We are very excited and grateful for these funds. Although it sounds like a large amount, the reality is it will not come close to helping everyone in our area who has been financially impacted by COVID-19. We already had so many families classified as ‘working poor’ before the virus shut down businesses and eliminated jobs, that some may never recover from this. It is critical to our community that we continue to bring in funds through our annual campaign as well as for COVID relief.”
Realizing their partner organizations supporting income stability would need additional funds, United Way developed the COVID-19 Fund in March immediately following release of the state guidelines. Donations arrived in the form of grants from Procter & Gamble, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and anonymous funders, plus donations from generous individuals and area businesses that include Mondi, Schnucks, Home State Health, First State Community Bank, Anchor Pointe Wealth Management, Kiwanis Club of Cape Girardeau, and MedStop One. The funds are being distributed throughout UWSEMO’s four-county footprint of Perry, Northern Scott, Bollinger, and Cape Girardeau counties.
Donations to the COVID-19 Fund can be made at www.unitedwayofsemo.org or by calling the office at 573-334-9634 or mailing a check to United Way of Southeast Missouri, 1417D N. Mt. Auburn Road, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Those needing help should call First Call For Help at 573-334-9634 (HELP) or 211, if outside of the United Way of Southeast Missouri footprint.