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United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund names first five grantees

SALISBURY — The first round of grantees from the United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund will provide services that range from paying for housing and utility costs to a collaboration that will deliver meals to low income individuals.

The United Way on Wednesday awarded a total of $40,184 in grants to five local nonprofits — Main Street Mission, the Salvation Army, Rowan Helping Ministries, Meals on Wheels and the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center. The nonprofit declined to release amounts of each grant but said that amounts awarded were not identical and that, with one exception, requests were fully funded.

Last week’s grant funding is planned to be the first in multiple rounds of grants from the COVID-19 Relief Fund, which has raised a total of $73,052 since its creation in late March.

“Our first round of funding predominately focused on our most pressing basic needs,” said Rowan County United Way Executive Director Jenny Lee. “All of the funded organizations serve our community’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.”

Lee said the community has been generous in its donations to the COVID-19 Relief Fund and that the public response “continues to drive our ability to best support those that been impacted the most.”

At Meals on Wheels, funds will provide additional meals each week to people who are at high risk for infection as well as to purchase groceries and deliver food to people who are immuno-compromised.

Rowan Helping Ministries will use COVID-19 relief funds to provide people with rent assistance for up to two months, support a partnership with Hood Theological Seminary for transitional housing on its campus and providing assistance with emergency medications.

Meals and Wheels and Rowan Helping Ministries are also working together to deliver food to low-income individuals. Traditionally, Meals on Wheels has focused on seniors who are homebound.

The Salvation Army will use its grant to provide rent and utility assistance and help with salaries of the organization’s family store staff because the nonprofit is no eligible for the Payroll Protection Program included in a $2.2 trillion bill passed by Congress.

The Rufty-Holmes Senior Center has transition its dine-in meal program to drive-thru and delivery on Wednesdays. The senior center is providing 1,080 meals per week. And funds from the COVID-19 Relief Fund will be combined with other grant funding for food purchasing expenses.

Main Street Mission plans to use its funds to cover the cost of supplemental food and hygiene products and well as expanded services that will pay for housing and utility costs of the nonprofit’s clients.

Since Wednesday, the fund has grown by more than $13,000 — made possible in large part because of a $10,000 contribution from Salisbury-based F&M Bank.

F&M Bank CEO and Chairman Steve Fisher said the community is blessed to have many highly effective and hardworking nonprofit agencies in our community to help get through “this unprecedented event.”

“Focusing our efforts and our funding through these ‘battle-tested’ agencies is the best way to have a positive and immediate impact on those who need it the most,” Fisher said. “In honor of the over 130 essential employees of F&M Bank, we are proud partners in the COVID-19 Relief Fund.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can do so 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.

Nonprofits can obtain more information about applying by visiting rowanunitedway.org or calling the office at 704-633-1802.

Donations since the most recent update on Thursday are as follows:

• Bobby and Kathy Rusher, $300
• Jessica Dampier, $400
• Dan and Jan Williams, $500
• Yuliang Wang, $60
• Amanda Deaner, $25
• Anonymous, $500
• Anonymous, $100
• Harry and Vickie Keene, $100
• Gaither and Syble Dancy, $200
• Dale and Margaret Basinger, $200
• Carolyn Blackman, $200
• Lanny and Sandra Bost, $50
• Bill and Toni Kenerly, $200
• Anny Wilson, $200
• Perry and Judy Voncanon, $100
• Sylvia Powell, $100
• Jim and Fran Grizzard, $100
• Charles and Phyllis Little, $100
• Denny and Carol White, $100
• Linne Wallace, $50
• Susan Barnhardt, $20
• Stephen O’Conner, $100
• Bill and Gwen Webb, $50
• Tanya Yates, $100
• Digna Freirich, $200
• Carolyn Conrad, $100
• Nancy Powell, $50
• Ed and Marcia Parrott, $100
• Jane Creech, $100
• Robert and Allison Ogden, $100

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