United Way, Salisbury Post launch COVID-19 Relief Fund

Published 8:38 pm Saturday, March 21, 2020

SALISBURY — The Rowan County United Way and Salisbury Post are launching a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help local residents whose lives are impacted by the coronavirus.

Similar to the Post’s annual Christmas Happiness Fund, the COVID-19 Relief Fund will accept donations from the public. Donations will be tallied and published in the newspaper on a regular basis. The United Way will then direct those funds to organizations and nonprofits that can help people with basic needs stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. Those nonprofits will determine methods of distribution.

Funds raised will go directly toward basic needs and COVID-19 response and relief efforts in Rowan County.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the relief fund can donate now at rowanunitedway.org, text the word “RELIEF” to 704-286-1011 or mail a contribution to the United Way at 131 West Innes St., Suite 201, Salisbury, N.C. 28144. Those mailing donations should address them to the attention of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Those making a donation online should include a note in the comment section saying it’s for the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

In addition to the funds raised, the United Way will place a hold on undesignated funds for the evaluation of current needs and underwrite all internal costs associated with dispersing 100% of the funds.

“United Way has always held a unique and responsive role in the community to bring together individuals and groups that support the ongoing needs of our residents as well as immediate and unforeseeable needs,” said United Way Director Jenny Lee. “As always, we are here to support Rowan County in the current, uncertain climate we now live in. We are dedicated to working together to assist our community during this unprecedented time.”

John Carr, publisher of the Salisbury Post, said the newspaper commends the United Way’s speed in putting together plans to assist local residents affected by the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

“As we have geared up to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many local businesses have had to cut back on hours, operations and staffing,” Carr said. “The United Way is trying to step into this gap and assist our local residents. We are more than happy to partner with the United Way and support this effort. While we know many are caught in the virus’s economic pinch, we hope those that can will consider supporting local residents through the United Way in this time of extraordinary need.”

Lee said she has received commitments from multiple, yet-to-be-named local entities who plan to contribute to the fund. And she said the United Way is continuing to advocate for collaboration among its partners as the entire community navigates a time of uncertainty. The United Way, she said, is grateful for the support of the Salisbury Post, city of Salisbury and Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation.

Jason Walser, executive director of the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, said the organization is “committed to serving the needs of our community.”

“We are fortunate to have the Rowan United Way as a partner in helping us evaluate specific challenges COVID-19 has brought to Rowan County,” Walser said. “We will get through this together.”

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 are being advised to call their health care provider or personal doctor, the health department hotline at 980-432-1800 or the Novant Health hotline at 877-9-NOVANT. The Centers for Disease Control says symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

North Carolina’s 211 service, provided by the United Way, gives callers access to resources and other basic needs. The confidential service, available by calling 211, is available in many languages and 24 hours per day. In addition to calling 211, people can also visit nc211.org.

The United Way says nonprofits with new services and service changes should provide N.C. 211 with that information to ensure individuals in need can be directed to appropriate agencies.

To contact the Rowan County United Way, visit its website or call 704-633-1802