Local United way launches recovery fund

Published 7:49 pm Friday, March 20, 2020

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The Franklin-Southampton Area United Way is, of course, among the organizations throughout Western Tidewater that is having to cope with the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Recognizing that fact, executive director Trish Tsitsera stated in an announcement to media, “Like many United Way organizations around the country, we have established a COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund to support community resources that serve struggling families in Franklin and Southampton County.”

Tsitsera continued, “In addition to the fund, we have put together an article/list of things that people can do to help during the crisis.

Five Things You Can Do to Help During the COVID-19 Crisis

When you feel the most helpless, you actually have the power to do the most good.

As we move into social distancing and self-quarantine, it’s natural to feel isolated. Staying away from other people, though necessary, doesn’t fulfill our need to take action, to do something in the face of this crisis. Fortunately, even in isolation, you can help the most vulnerable among us. Because we are never truly alone in our human community.

1. Donate to the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund. Your gift supports community resources that serve struggling families in Franklin and Southampton County. As food pantries and other community resources are inundated, donations to the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way COVID-19 Fund help ensure these vital relief services stay open and accessible. Visit www.franklinunitedway.org to give securely online.

2. Direct people to 211. Virginia 211 is working on the front lines of the pandemic. Expert 211 specialists provide real-time information on social services and other resources to those in need. If you know someone who is struggling, or just looking for a source of reliable information, tell them to call 2-1-1 or visit www.211virginia.org.

3. Direct people to food distribution sites as needed. Workers are losing wages and tips due to business closures. Students and seniors that have lost access to normal meal services are at risk of going hungry. As stores run out of items, more people need access to meals. Monitor our website at www.franklinunitedway.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to receive updates on local food distributions. Currently, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is distributing grab-and -go food bags on Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m., and on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA on Crescent Drive. The Franklin Cooperative Ministry is open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m., and will distribute food outside of the building. We will keep you posted of other local food distributions as we are aware.

4. Call your friends and family. Loneliness is damaging to our health. Even during isolation, modern technology allows us to stay connected. Checking in on friends and family is more than polite right now, it’s essential. And don’t forget elderly neighbors or others living alone. If you are able to pick up and drop off items for someone that is high risk, please do so.

5. Take care of your mental health. If you’re stuck at home, keep busy with hobbies, try out arts and crafts, pick up an old musical instrument, organize family game nights, and step outside for fresh air and exercise. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. Several of our local churches have online services and post daily on social media. Some mental health providers are utilizing phone calls and teleconferencing appointments. Even in these uncertain times, no one is powerless to make a difference. Small acts, taken together across the country, can change the course of the pandemic, bolster those facing economic challenges, and protect the most vulnerable.