MONROE, Ga. — In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way of Walton County is activating a Crisis Response & Recovery Fund. This fund will help families and people across our community who, because of the pandemic, need access to critical resources and services like food, rent assistance, and more.

“This crisis has created severe, immediate hardships on many families, and will continue to impact our community for months to come. The coronavirus is a new test of our strength as a community, but we know the people of Walton County will support one another, especially those who are most in need,” said Jeff Collins, a banker with Synovus in Loganville, who is president of the local United Way board.

Many in Walton County are living with consequences of the pandemic, from food insecurity to loss of income, and more will become in need of assistance. United Way of Walton County is connecting with local partners to organize solutions for anticipated needs and hardships presented by widespread protective measures against the spread of COVID-19.

The Crisis Relief & Recovery Fund supports people who are struggling to meet their own basic needs in the wake of the new virus by supporting local programs serving the most vulnerable. Three of the ten United Way agencies have undertaken immediate relief efforts, and others are preparing for the long-term effects of the crisis.

FISH has been delivering lunches to more than 1500 children each day since school closures were announced. The agency has also expanded its delivery of food boxes for families who are not able to pick them up.

Shepherd’s Staff is providing home delivered boxes and drive-through service for families in need of food in the Loganville area.

The Walton County Senior Citizens Council has closed its centers to protect its vulnerable clients, but is now providing home delivered meals and drive-up service for those who would normally eat lunch at the center daily. Meals on Wheels for more than 200 shut-in seniors continue.

All of the United Way agencies are modifying operations in response to COVID-19 and are facing various challenges that will require increased resources. Some have moved their programming online while others are putting enhanced sanitation and social distancing programs in place in order to remain open. At the same time, charities are bracing for a decline in funding. Many have been forced to cancel or postpone annual fund raising events while the need for their services is increasing.

Donations can be made online at www.unitedwayofwalton.org or by mailing checks to United Way of Walton County, P.O. Box 582, Monroe, GA 30655 (write “Crisis Fund Donation” in the notes).

“Our agencies are doing vitally important work under difficult circumstances,” said Angela Yarman, executive director of United Way of Walton County. “We want to make sure they have the resources they need to serve the people of our community. We are calling on those who are able to help our most vulnerable through this unprecedented crisis.”

United Way of Walton County raises funds to support ten local agencies that provide human services to one out of every three people in Walton County.