When the unexpected happens, our communities must unite.
Here are five things you can do to help fight the struggles of COVID-19:
1. Donate to the Souris Valley United Way Emergency Response Fund. Your gift supports community resources that serve struggling in the Souris River area. Workers are losing wages and tips due to event cancellations and business closures. As food pantries and other community resources are inundated, donations to the Emergency Response Fund help ensure these vital services are available to individuals in need.
2. Direct people to 211. Souris Valley United Way is working on the front lines of the pandemic. Expert 211 specialists provide real-time information on social services and other resources to those in need. If you know someone who is struggling or just looking for a source of reliable information, tell them to dial 211.
3. Spare something for local food pantries. As stores run out of bulk food and toilet paper, food pantries are struggling to fill their shelves, even as more people are coming in for help. Consider donating what you can spare, especially non-perishable food and toiletry items.
4. Call your friends and family. Loneliness is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Even during isolation, modern technology allows us to stay connected. Checking in on friends and family is more than polite right now, it's essential. And don't forget elderly neighbors and others living alone.
5. Take care of your mental health. Keep busy with hobbies, try out arts and crafts, pick up an old musical instrument, organize family game nights, and step outside for fresh air and exercise. You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself.
Thank you to First International Bank & Trust for helping us establish the Emergency Response Fund with your match of $1,000. The Emergency Response Fund was used to help local agencies provide food, shelter, and other basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the generosity of our communities and partners like First International Bank we were able to grant over $40,000 working to help individuals during COVID-19
Individuals seeking information about referral to available community programs and other resources are encouraged to call 2-1-1. Specialists will assist you as best they can with local information.