RINCON — Despite the advent of social distancing, local government agencies, charitable organizations and churches have remained connected in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The Effingham Emergency Management Agency has given periodic updates during conference calls that allow the participants to discuss ways to help those affected most by the contagious respiratory disease.
The first call, led by EEMA Coordinator Matt Gill, occurred March 17. He was followed by United Way Area Director Elizabeth Waters.
“Our office is still trying to determine if we are going to be open in Effingham,” she said. “At the very least, we will be working remotely answering phone calls and email.”
Waters, who was subsequently required to work from home, developed a spread sheet that lists community resources and made it available to all the call participants.
“United Way has created a rapid response specifically for COVID-19,” she said. “Our immediate concerns are child care, resources such as toilet paper, food and things of that nature, and then we know in the coming weeks that our secondary needs will be financial assistance for rent, for utilities, for things of that nature, for families that will not be available to work.”
Waters mentioned that people can donate to the United Way COVID-19 fund through its website (https://uwce.org/resources/rapidresponse/. United Way of the Coastal Empire is releasing $80,000 to get started.
“One hundred percent of the money given will go back to people who are in need because of this situation.” Waters said.
On Tuesday, Brynn Grant, president and CEO of United Way of the Coastal Empire, added, “In our four-county region, many of our friends and neighbors are living paycheck to paycheck — with 23.7 percent of total population in Bryan County, 25 percent in Chatham, 24.6 percent in Effingham, and almost 36 percent in Liberty County considered Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed or ALICE. As governments, schools and businesses respond to public health recommendations to close or limit operation, many people have already or will lose their jobs and will experience extreme financial challenges. This is the workforce that lifts our economy. These are our neighbors.”
For more information about COVID-19 Rapid Response eligibility guidelines, visit uwce.org/211 or call 211. United Way 211 is available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Temporary weekend hours will be added, beginning Saturday.
Some documentation is required to obtain funds and residents must meet eligibility guidelines. Apply by calling United Way’s Effingham office at 912-826-5300.