$100,000 Milestone Reached
COVID-19 Relief Fund Update
“This will help me make ends meet for this month, I am so grateful for your help,” Project FINE COVID-19 Relief Fund recipient.
The needs are wide and diverse, and the Winona Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund is meeting them with the help of partner agencies.
To address a growing need for emergency funds and assistance, the Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors established the COVID-19 Relief Fund. While the Winona Community Foundation does not provide direct program services, it partners with direct program providers to provide financial resources to individuals in an emergency. Partners with access to the COVID-19 Relief Fund include Family and Children’s Center of Winona, Hiawatha Valley Mental Health, Home and Community Options, and Project FINE. These agencies are in addition to long-established Emergency Assistance Fund partners: the Advocacy Center of Winona, Bluff Country Family Services in Hokah, Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota (prescription assistance only), Hometown Resources in St. Charles, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Wabasha, Semcac in Winona, Houston and Fillmore Counties, and Winona Volunteer Services.
After an initial $25,000 was received in the fund, the partners received $5,000 to give out at their discretion and recipients have been quite humbled. And we are happy to share that on May 1, 2020, the fund reached over $100,000 thanks to generous donations both big and small.
Project FINE staff prioritized the most affected refugee and immigrant families by the current economic slowdown. In doing so, they helped 184 individuals and 46 families experiencing financial hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of the support provided was in the form of gift cards for groceries for laid off workers and single parents. They were also able to provide full rent support to a family of five that is experiencing significant financial hardships and were facing potential eviction. Because of this fund, they have a safe place to live through the end of May.
“Thank you so much for this support, I was just about to run out of food for my family and this will help me buy groceries for my children,” Project FINE COVID-19 Relief Fund recipient.
FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S CENTER
It is no surprise that anxiety is surging in the current environment. The staff at Family and Children’s Center (FCC) are focusing on connecting their clients with telehealth services during this time of social distancing. The COVID-19 Relief Fund gives FCC the ability to help those who are experiencing mental health challenges in a virtual way without the fear of getting the virus using internet and phone options paid for through the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
“We are so thankful for the gift of connectivity to those who need us most!” shares Jamie Korn, Development Director.
HIAWATHA VALLEY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER
Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center has found that their clients have a variety of needs and they carefully assess the best way to meet those needs with the help of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. They purchased phone minutes for phones so clients could continue to attend mental health therapy sessions. They purchased noise canceling headphones for a woman experiencing difficulty with background noise in her home, and provided a grocery gift card for a single parent client who lost her job.
“The Emergency Fund has been an amazing resource for the individuals and families we serve,” shares Stacy Shones, Development Coordinator.
After the Warming Center closed on March 26, Volunteer Services took on the responsibility to facilitate housing for the homeless during the State mandated stay-at-home order to keep these individuals safe. The temporary lodging comes at a price and so the COVID-19 Relief Fund was able to help fund the costs associated with their lodging for the first month.
And while Volunteer Services has not quite seen an uptick of financial requests caused by this pandemic, they did help one family with their internet bill so they could successfully continue online learning with their children.
“We are very grateful for the chance to help [the homeless] folks continue to stay safe,” Kay Peterson of Volunteer Services.
MAKE A DONATION
The longer it takes for our community to emerge from this pandemic, the more individuals and families will experience financial hardship. For many, this will be the first time they need to ask for help. If you or someone you know is experiencing a financial hardship, encourage them to connect with any of the COVID-19 Relief Fund partner agencies for assistance.
It’s easy to see that this fund is having an immediate and direct impact right here in Winona. The Winona Community Foundation is not taking any fees from contributions to this fund. All dollars will go directly to serving individuals and families. After we emerge from the pandemic if any funds remain they will be distributed to nonprofit organizations working to reestablish operations post pandemic. The Winona Community Foundation will waive all fees, and no dollars will remain in the Winona Community Foundation. If you want to contribute to this fund please donate today!