United Against COVID-19: Meeting Basic Needs, the United Way

Apr 21, 2020

United Ways along the Treasure Coast have created economic relief funds to help people pay for housing, food and utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created so much need for the most basic things! Food. Utilities. Money to keep the roof over your head. If you lost your job to the COVID-19 pandemic, and you need to pay bills, buy diapers, feed your family… Where do you turn? 

NM: We’re very fortunate here that we do have a lot of avenues for people to get help if they need it, and the fact that there is a United Way in every community I think gives people a resource to go to, no matter where they live. They know that there will be a United Way that will be able to help them in some, in some way.

That’s Nancy McCarthy.

NW: This is Nancy.

She’s the director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Martin County.

NM: And the beauty of United Way is that, you know, we’re all independent nonprofits organizations – each United Way is run independently – so we’re all a little bit different, but the mission of United Way is the same. We’re all working together to really just make sure everybody has their basic needs met.

And now the mission is laser focused on COVID-19 response and relief.

KT: We want people to know the economic relief fund is here to help nonprofits and individuals who have been impacted.

That’s Kenrick Thomas.

KT: Hey, how are you?

He’s the director of marketing and communications for the United Way of St. Lucie County.

KT: We provide the funds to the nonprofit agencies in St. Lucie County that enables them to be able to still provide their assistance even though they are being impacted by COVID-19. For instance: Mustard Seed Ministries. They have a service where they are able to provide rent assistance. Now that this pandemic has hit the Treasure Coast, the amount of people who call for rent assistance has not even doubled but I believed tripled.

To the north, in Indian River County, they too are leaning on what is already in place. This is…

MK: Michael Kint – I‘m the CEO at the United Way of Indian River County. We are utilizing folks that already have a presence in the community who do similar work year round.

We ask about their response fund.

MK: We started with just a little bit of money. We put in $50,000, and we worked with the Community Foundation and they put in $50,000. So, we had something to start with. And I am delighted to say that today we have raised almost $670,000! We need another $250,000 by the end of April and we feel that will get us covered pretty much into the middle if not the end of May.

Here’s Nancy McCarthy again:

NM: Our economic relief fund is a little bit different. We’re approaching it in a little bit of a different way in that we are helping individuals who need assistance or are in financial crisis directly so we’re working with two local nonprofit organizations who are doing the case management.

That’s House of Hope and the Salvation Army of Martin County

And then we’re reimbursing for those individual bills. This is a marathon not a sprint. This is going to be a long-term situation. So, we’re trying to build our fund so we have the resources to help people for as long as we need.

Here’s Kenrick Thomas again.

KT: How this is helping our community is we’re all coming together as one.

Just like the United Way slogan which tells us to Live United.

Click here to connect with the three United Ways:

https://www.unitedwaymartin.org

https://www.unitedwayslc.org

https://www.unitedwayirc.org/