La PORTE COUNTY — La Porte County’s local United Way has launched the United Way of La Porte County COVID-19 Relief Fund to raise financial resources to support the immediate and emerging needs of individuals who are losing their income and are unable to pay their bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many La Porte County families are falling into the gap – making too much money to qualify for services but not making enough to make ends meet,” said Kris Pate, Executive Director of United Way of La Porte County. “In the coming days, not knowing how business closures will impact take-home pay of employees, we expect to see a significant increase in La Porte County families requiring access to supports such as rent or mortgage assistance, utility assistance, and for those who are still working, financial assistance for childcare services.”

In addition to the over $200,000 granted by United Way of La Porte County to local funded agency partners this year to provide services, the COVID-19 Relief Fund will help support those and other local nonprofit partners serving the increasing number of families with emerging needs caused by this current crisis. As of Thursday, an anonymous donor who has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 for financial gifts to the relief fund.

Working with the Financial Stability and Basic Needs Collective Impact Collaboration, 211 and their broad network of community partners, United Way of La Porte County is identifying immediate needs and will make funding and resources available to providers serving families in La Porte County.

The web-based, volunteer matching system, Northwest Indiana Regional Volunteer Center at www.covid19.nwivolunteer.org will allow agencies to register their volunteer needs and seamlessly recruit volunteers, minimizing person-to-person contact.

Please do note the need for blood donations at this time. The American Red Cross blood supply has dwindled to seriously depleted levels. To find a blood donation site or to schedule a blood drive at your business, contact Kristine Kaplan at (260) 385-3889 or email her at kristine.kaplan@redcross.org.

“Right now, we are calling on our community and our corporate partners to come together and support struggling individuals and families. This pandemic is a health crisis, but it is an economic crisis as well, and we intend to be here to support those being affected,” said Pate, “100 percent of your donation goes to support the United Way of La Porte County COVID-19 relief efforts.”

“These funds will not be used to support the United Way of La Porte County regular annual campaign or be used to pay for any administrative costs. Please consider making this gift in addition to your United Way annual campaign gift that is still so greatly needed to support our work and the work of our many partner agencies throughout the county,” added United Way of La Porte County board chair, Angie Nelson Deuitch.

To contribute to the United Way of La Porte County COVID-19 Relief Fund, please visit www.unitedwaylpc/ relief or contact United Way at info@unitedwaylpc.org.

For people experiencing hardship and employers who want to offer an immediate resource to their employees, you can dial 211 or visit the 211 website that covers La Porte County residents at https://in211.communityos.org/ to learn what services are available.

For questions about this relief effort, contact Pate at info@unitedwaylpc.org

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