'I was helped really quickly'

Agencies, United Way help Bartholomew County cope with the pandemic

Disaster Relief & Emergency Services,Goal 02: Zero Hungry,Goal 03: Good Health and Well-Being,Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

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The pandemic upended the lives of everyone in Bartholomew County.

For some of our most vulnerable neighbors, Covid-19 found them in a more precarious situation than ever before. People lost jobs or had their works hours trimmed. Some have never had to ask for assistance before. 

Bartholomew County individuals and businesses stepped up and donated to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, helping us raise more than $600,000 to ensure basic needs were met and to help our community recover.

Our 17 partner agencies saw more need than ever before, dealing with an onslaught of clients and helping others with needs during a pandemic.

Here are a few of their stories:

Family School Partners

Throughout the pandemic, community members were unsure of where to turn to get assistance.

Thanks to Family School Partners, clients were able to get the resources they needed to navigate the complex, changing information around schools, testing and community resources during Covid-19.

From Maria:

Thanks to the Family School Partner Program, during the time of the pandemic, we were always informed about the places to be tested for Covid, and we always had the information of the places where they gave free food and pantries. They are always waiting to keep us up to the date with all the information of the children regarding the schools.

From Elva:

God Bless this program, it has been very helpful and more so in these times of Covid, where they have given us a lot of information about the aid that is given in the community for those of us who have less.

Mill Race Center

The senior citizen felt isolated and lonely during the pandemic.

In an effort to get social interaction and more physically active, Sue joined Mill Race Center.

Now she has access to the programming and the fitness center offered by Mill Race Center and has been a champion at signing up two friends to benefit from the same type of services.

The trio keep each other motivated and involved. They also have access to a Community Health Worker with whom they can discuss their goals, and with the help of the Aging Well+ program, can achieve them.

United Way

Charles watched as COVID-19 took over the world and leaped into Columbus and southern Indiana.

The Columbus resident depends on social security and disability to meet his basic needs. He also drives a semi-truck part time in the spring and summer.

His long-term girlfriend had recently died of cancer when the pandemic started. He struggled to take on all the bills, including on his home, where the landlord had just raised the rent.

When COVID-19 hit and drastically cut into his hours driving a semi-truck in his busiest season, he knew he would need help.

His stimulus check came in the mail and he used every cent to catch up on bills and to pay back people who had helped him when he had little income.

The check ran out and work was not picking back up. He knew he would need help.

Except for a few trips to Love Chapel over the years, Charles had been mostly self-sufficient. He had never asked for help from United Way before.

United Way and the Columbus Trustee stepped in and made sure Charles could still pay his rent in the midst of a pandemic.

He called the trustee for help and the agreed to pay some of his rent. United Way stepped in and paid the other part of his rent from the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

“I was really helped quickly, and I was blown away by it,” Charles said. “I didn’t have to beg or borrow. I think it is awesome.”

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