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United Way establishes coronavirus response fund for Kent County, raises nearly $40K

Heart of West Michigan United Way will match up to $50,000 in donations.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Heart of West Michigan United Way (HWMUW) has established a coronavirus response fund for Kent County. 

The fund was created in partnership with local foundations and funders, according to a press release from HWMUW.

The fund will allow people to donate money that will help meet the needs in the community related to the COVID-19 pandemic. HWMUW said the fund will support the nonprofits who are serving vulnerable populations during this time, and will ensure that essential services continue. 

"United Way realizes many of the nonprofit agencies are being stretched to capacity as they address the needs in the community and will continue to do so in the months to come," the nonprofit said.

Heart of West Michigan United Way will match up to $50,000 in donations. HWMUW has raised nearly $40,000 in individual donations and is asking the community to help reach its goal. Those interested in donating can visit www.hwmuw.org.

To date, United Way issued grants from the fund to more than two dozen agencies including food pantries, housing service providers, and community centers. 

"Folks are calling because they lost their job, we're getting a lot of calls of food assistance at this time as children are out of school," Sherri Vainavicz, Director of Programs and Services, said. "But the schools and the non-profits and the food pantries have really stepped up."

Here is our full 13 ON YOUR SIDE coronavirus website.   

Local foundations and funders have also joined together to prepare for an extended response to address the near and long-term implications the COVID-19 pandemic will have on area nonprofits and small businesses. The United Way said details on these efforts will be released at a later date. 

"A lot of the food assistance programs are looking for volunteers as we start packing boxes," says Vainavicz. "Right now our biggest call is for food assistance in the community. They'll probably change as time goes on but that has been the most immediate need."

Initial Coronavirus Grant Recipients:

  • Asian Community Outreach  
  • Baxter Community Center 
  • Community Food Club 
  • Designed Futures  
  • Family Promise of Grand Rapids 
  • Heartside Gleaning Initiative  
  • Helping Our Adolescents Prosper (HOAP), Inc.  
  • Hispanic Center of Western Michigan 
  • Holland Home 
  • In the Image  
  • Inner City Christian Federation 
  • Lifequest Urban Outreach Center 
  • LINC UP Nonprofit Housing Corporation 
  • Kent School Services Network 
  • Kids' Food Basket 
  • Meals on Wheels Western Michigan 
  • Mel Trotter Ministries 
  • New Destiny Pathway 
  • North End Community Ministry 
  • North Kent Connect  
  • Oakdale Neighbors 
  • Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan 
  • Safe Haven Ministries 
  • The Green Apple 
  • The Other Way Ministries 
  • The SOURCE 
  • Well House 
  • West Michigan Asian American Association, Inc  
  • Women’s Resource Center  
  • YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

For those in need of services, 211 remains the go-to resource in every county in Michigan. In recent weeks, 211 has received a 700% increase in weekly call volume across the state. Call 211 or visit our 211 page to connect via email or live chat.

For the latest updates on United Way’s coordinated response to the Coronavirus and a list of community resources, visit www.hwmuw.org/coronavirus-updates.

Here's a list of all the confirmed coronavirus cases in Michigan

Do you have more questions about COVID-19 in Michigan? Check out the state's website.



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