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United Way of Central Indiana commits $16.5M to coronavirus relief fund

United Way Central Indiana commits $16.5 million to ‘COVID-19 Community Relief Fund’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — United Way of Central Indiana announced a new fund to support individuals and families under distress because of the coronavirus.

The Lilly Endowment and others partnered to pledge $16.5 million for the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund.

“Today was a big day,” United Way Central Indiana’s Jessica DiSanto said.

 “Coronavirus is affecting all of our daily lives in so many different ways and the people who need help need help right now.”

DiSanto speaks to why partnering with community organizations and service providers is key to getting people the relief they need.

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“They’re on the ground,” she said. “They know exactly the pockets of need in every community. We’re counting on them to relay this significant investment to those who need it the most and find out what more we could be doing.”

A large portion of the initial contribution came from the Lilly Endowment Inc., a contribution that organizations like Second Helpings say was critical to making this effort possible.

“They really anticipated this need before some of us had a chance to evaluate what the changes we were making were doing to our bottom line,” Executive Director Jennifer Vigran said. “To know that they had been proactive and jumped ahead of this and have our backs is huge.”

Vigran says they’ve been getting a lot of calls and now Second Helpings and others are ready to step up and meet the community’s needs. “We’re hearing a lot about people who are concerned about food,” she said. “For a lot of children in our community, school means food.”

“We also know there are families that are going to need help as more people are staying home and not earning wages.”

Vigran wanted people facing these hardships related to housing, utilities and food to know they will have help soon from all over the community.

“We are absolutely here for you,” she said. “We have a great network of community partners who are talking to each other and working together.”

If you need immediate assistance UWCI says the best thing to do is call 211. They are available 24/7 and can help each family figure out what the best solutions are for them.

You can volunteer or contribute to the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund here.

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