United Way of Lewis County in partnership with the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound has announced its first round of rapid response funds from the Lewis County COVID-19 fund, totaling $50,000, which will be donated to the Lewis County Seniors, the Boys & Girls Club of Chehalis and the Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason and Thurston Counties.
Executive Director of United Way of Lewis County Debbie Campbell said she spoke with Director of Lewis County Public Health and Social Services J.P. Anderson to determine where the money was most needed.
“As an update, we are up to about $140,000 dollars and a lot of these checks are from individuals from around the community that want to put their money someplace where they know it will go to help people, and they have confidence in United Way. We are really talking about what the emerging needs are,” said Campbell. “This is something that United Way of Lewis County has done in the past during the 2007 flood. We became the pastor for dollars going back into the community to help get people back on their feet.”
The Lewis County Seniors received $35,000 from United Way for their senior meal delivery program for Lewis County seniors ages 60 and up. The meal delivery program has become a three-way partnership between Lewis County Seniors, Twin Transit and United Way of Lewis County.
All six of the Lewis County senior center locations closed on Friday, March 13 and since then thousands of meals have been delivered to seniors in Lewis County.
Executive Director of Lewis County Seniors Glenda Forga, who has been involved with the organization for 21 years, said that the donated funds will go toward food purchase, food storage containers that are microwave and oven safe and coolers for food transportation. With the help of Twin Transit meals are being delivered to seniors all over Lewis County including in East Lewis County.
“I’ve got good people behind me. I can’t say enough about Debbie Campbell with United Way and Joe Clark with Twin Transit for the way they stepped up to help support me and our seniors. … Together we have made an amazing team and I do not want to lose this momentum coming out of this crisis. … There has never been a social response team or coordinated effort like this until now,” said Forga.
United Way of Lewis County allocated $10,000 to the Community Action Council of Lewis, Mason, and Thurston Counties to assist low-income at-risk individuals with Utility assistance, childcare resources, mortgage or rental assistance due to job loss.
The Boys & Girls Club of Chehalis received $5,000 to support their Emergency Youth Support Program which provides childcare for first responders and healthcare professionals in Lewis County and with the recent order for schools to close for the rest of the school year childcare is in high demand.
“We can’t thank United Way enough for quickly stepping in and making sure we had the support we needed to open the club quickly so that healthcare workers, first responders and other essential community staff have a safe place for their kids to be,” states Lauren Day, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Chehalis.
United Way of Lewis County is collecting donations online and by check through the mail at 450 NW Pacific Avenue in Chehalis.
“J.P. (Anderson) likes to tell me that this is mile three of a marathon and that’s what helps get me through is that we have a long way to go but are doing OK,” said Campbell.