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‘Resource Hubs’

Crisis Response Fund Awards $15,038

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is one of the organizations receiving face masks from the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. Pictured are Joseph Vaughn and Allison Murphy. Submitted photo

During this week’s round of funding, the Chautauqua County Crisis Response Fund awarded grants to five local organizations to support public health and safety, help individuals overcome barriers to accessing essential resources in partnership with area churches, provide supplemental food and personal hygiene items, and coordinate transportation for food delivery with county-wide food providers.

Grants totaling $15,038 will be immediately released to the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, LOVE Inc., Forestville Wesleyan Church, Dunkirk-Fredonia Meals on Wheels and YMCA of Jamestown.

For the past several weeks, both the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County have positioned themselves as “Resource Hubs” to link residents with resources, information and volunteer opportunities during this pandemic.

According to Amy Rohler, UWSCC executive director, one of the challenges many essential workers across the county face is access to face masks.

There are generally three types of face masks, N95 respirators and surgical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders, and homemade cloth face masks for public use.

“We have coordinated several efforts to get cloth masks into the hands of essential workers,” Rohler said. “We have partnered with local mask makers directly to try and build a supply of face coverings and established drop sites around the county for volunteers to drop off donated masks for others.”

With the recent government mandate requiring all essential workers to wear face coverings, the need to provide those items has only intensified.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Services continue to work with first responders and municipalities across the county to make sure individuals have access to face coverings. In partnership with these offices, the United Ways have been coordinating donations from the countywide drop sites to ensure essential workers have access to cloth masks, including those serving on the frontlines in nonprofit organizations.

“We continue to help distribute all donated, homemade cloth masks to a variety of organizations we serve,” said Adam Dolce, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County executive director. “However, the need continues to grow and the donations have not been enough to meet the increased need.”

Dollars awarded from the Crisis Response Fund will allow the United Way to purchase a supply of cloth face masks from one of The Resource Center’s production facilities. The masks will help supplement the supply of donated cloth face masks to be distributed to direct line staff and volunteers working in essential service areas throughout the county, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, food delivery to shut in populations, and staff working in residential and housing programs.

In addition, the United Ways will continue to collaborate with the Chautauqua County Department of Health to coordinate drop sites for homemade cloth face masks. A full listing of drop sites can be found on the United Way’s website, uwayscc.org

Since March 23, the Crisis Response Fund has raised nearly $871,640 of its $1 million goal from individuals, community organizations and local foundations. It has also awarded $218,522 to 16 organizations.

The fund is administered by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County on behalf of a coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners including the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation and United Way of Northern Chautauqua County.

More information, including how community members can make online tax-deductible donations, can be found on the United Way’s website, uwayscc.org. Individuals can also give by mailing a check made payable to the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County to 208 Pine Street, Jamestown. Please include Crisis Response Fund on the memo line.

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