United Way awards third round of pandemic response funds

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated May 27, 2020 at 9:14 PM

The United Way of Washington County has disbursed a third round of donations to its COVID-19 Response Fund.

Announced on Wednesday, the disbursements included a total of $17,500 in contributions awarded to four nonprofit agencies on the frontline of local pandemic relief efforts.

The disbursements included:

• $5,000 to Appalachian Opportunity Fund to provide free financial coaching to local community members impacted by the virus.

• $5,000 to Appalachia Service Project to provide essential home repairs and safety measures for senior citizens.

• $2,500 to Cherished Mom to provide peer support and care kits to new mothers who may be feeling isolated and alone as a result of the pandemic.

• $5,000 to the Rise Up for Kids’ summer nutrition program for children attending summer camp where they will focus on recovery from the effects of COVID-19.

In its first two rounds of disbursements, the United Way response fund funneled a total of $68,600 in community donations to nonprofit agencies serving Washington County residents impacted by the virus.

Also in response to the pandemic, the local United Way awarded $108,936 in FEMA funding to supplement emergency food and shelter programs for Washington County residents impacted by the virus.

And $11,500 in United Way campaign contributions previously awarded to three after-school programs that were shut down because of the pandemic were reallocated to support outreach programs launched by the after-school programs to help the children and families they serve during the crisis.

The local United Way also awarded $9,625 in grocery shopping gift certificates to Johnson City and Washington County schools to bolster student feeding programs started by the schools following their state-mandated pandemic closures.

The gift certificates were part of a larger disbursement of 1,400 Food City gift certificates made possible by a $35,000 Eastman Credit Union donation to the United Way’s regional Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The regional fund has also disbursed $61,000 in community donations to the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Authority to help people who lost jobs as a result the pandemic with rent and utilities.

In a press release announcing Wednesday’s disbursements, the United Way of Washington County said it is utilizing a three-phase approach to its pandemic relief efforts under the subheadings of “response, recovery and rebuild.”

According to the press release, first phase disbursements from the response fund were directed to the most-desperate economic needs in the community. Now moving into a second phase, future disbursements will focus on meeting basic needs as people get back to work. Third phase disbursements will be focused on rebuilding a more-resilient system to better respond in times of crisis.

For those who wish to help, tax-deductible donations may be made to the Washington County COVID-19 Relief Fund online at www.uwowc.org/COVID-19.

The United Way covers all administrative fees so that 100% of all contributions go directly to community needs.

More information about the fund may be obtained by calling the United Way at 423-220-1229 or emailing [email protected]