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United Way Update, April 7

April 7, 2020

Featured Update from the United Way of Midcoast Maine and ways you can help:

Dear United Way Volunteer and Friend:

I hope you and your loved ones are well.  These are very unsettling times, to be sure, and many people want to help.  I wanted to reach out to you, as close friends of United Way, and let you know what United Way is doing.  (My apologies if you are receiving this more than once.)

We are all concerned about the increased needs of vulnerable people in our community now.  In addition to the disruption we all face, many people are having financial trouble meeting their basic needs, have child care needs, are facing health care and isolation problems, and other impacts related to the pandemic. 

United Way has established a COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund to get help out quickly.  100% of donations will go directly to the agencies and initiatives helping our neighbors with food, housing, and other urgent needs.  The goal is to get the money out as quickly as possible, as donations are made, in a very simple application process open to non-funded agencies as well as United Way partner agencies.  Volunteers from the Overview Committee and Council Chairs will review the applications.  If you would consider making a donation to the Urgent Needs Fund, we would be very grateful, and put your dollars to good use, quickly.  You can give online or send your donation to United Way at 34 Wing  Farm Parkway, #201, Bath ME 04530.  This would be an additional way in which you contribute to our community.  Thank you to those who have already given!

Our partner agencies, to no-one’s surprise, are in the thick of responding to people’s increased needs at this time – and all while facing the same challenges as the rest of us in trying to keep staff and volunteers safe, working remotely when possible, dealing with canceled fundraisers and events, etc.  In addition to launching the Urgent Needs Fund, to support our agencies we have:  sent our spring Community Fund checks early, provided a concise message about the possibility of applying for an SBA Loan under the new federal legislation, are reaching out to capture their volunteer needs, if any, in a way that requires as little time from them as possible, and, of course, we sent a general message of United Way’s appreciation for what they are doing and encouraged them to let us know at any time if there’s something we can do for them. 

211 Maine, established by us and the other United Ways of Maine several years ago, is once again proving worth its weight in gold.  It has a partnership with Maine CDC to take general questions and has been fielding many calls.  It’s wonderful that the texting option was implemented in time for this, to help with wait time.  We are directing people in search of good information to 211 and the Maine CDC. 

We have updated our website, www.uwmcm.org, to provide coronavirus-related information – please take a look!  We have added a document on key places to look for help, ways people can volunteer or donate, and we’ve added links to some of the wonderful local compilations of what businesses, etc., are open safely.  People are really stepping forward in creative ways to connect people without being able to see them face-to-face.  We also are posting more frequently on Facebook, and sharing posts from our agencies and others who are helping or providing useful information.  An additional way you could help us is by sharing our information, liking and following us on Facebook if you aren’t already, and generally sharing information on our Fund, website, etc., with others you know who are looking to help.

Our wonderful Diaper Project is facing logistical challenges getting diapers to low-income families.  Our major problem right now is physically finding enough diapers – the company we used to buy from in bulk has folded, and other sources now are limiting the number of boxes one purchaser can make.  (Perhaps it’s like the toilet paper situation?)  So, to get right down to the basics, if you are able to buy a box or two of diapers, we would greatly appreciate it and get them out to the food pantries, Head Start families, etc.  We have set up a bin outside the doors of our office, 34 Wing Farm Parkway, Bath, for donated diapers, or if you get them online you could have them delivered to United Way at that address.  We thank you, and Mid Coast babies thank you, for any diaper donations you could make!

I would welcome any suggestions or thoughts you have.  We are all working from home, so you can leave a message at 443-9752 (my extension is 1), or email me whenever you like.  I especially want you to know that it is your ongoing support of United Way that has enabled us to set up this response quickly, and made it possible for our partner agencies to do the exceptional work they are doing to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens during this emergency.

 

Thank you very much.

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