COVID-19 Response Funds

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Thurston County COVID-19 Response Fund Serves Local Needs

TOGETHER!’s shopping list for families in need included grocery items such as ramen, cereal, granola bars, pasta sauce, instant macaroni and cheese, canned fruits, vegetables, and chicken, as well as hygiene items such as powdered laundry detergent, diapers, baby wipes and formula. In normal times, these items would be easy to acquire, but these are not normal times.

In mid-April, TOGETHER! received assistance from the Thurston County COVID-19 Response Fund created by United Way of Thurston County (UWTC) and Community Foundation of South Puget Sound. The fund continues to support our community’s most essential necessities. In April, the fund paid for a massive Costco order that will support hundreds of families in need over the next few weeks.

TOGETHER!’s core mission is to “advance the health and wellbeing of all young people.” Right now, they are focused on making sure low-income families with children can continue to be fed, housed and healthy. On April 10, a few members from the TOGETHER! team ventured to the Costco in Tumwater and managed to fill four vehicles with many items on their list. They were able to access these items because United Way coordinated with amazing team members at Costco to source the bulk order of items that were hard to access.

TOGETHER! bundled these items and delivered them to financially challenged families over the last two weeks. TOGETHER! also filled outreach bins in Tumwater and Yelm at 15 different low-income neighborhoods, apartments, campgrounds and childcare centers.

Although there are currently limits on how many packages can be purchased of items like diapers, baby wipes and formula, managers at the Tumwater Costco ordered larger quantities of these essentials for TOGETHER! so they could be distributed to families who need them the most and are unable to get them.

Meagan Darrow, TOGETHER!’s deputy director, tells the story of coordinating a drop for a single mother with five children. “This mother is a survivor of domestic violence and needs diapers in multiple sizes, formula, toilet paper, and more food than usual because her older children are at home all the time now. She can’t work as much as she could before the crisis because hours at her childcare center have been shortened. This supply of critical items means she can pay bills and still feed and care for herself and her children,” she said.

UWTC and the Community Foundation are proud to support the efforts of nonprofit organizations with existing distribution networks such as TOGETHER!. With our entire community observing social distancing guidelines and feeling the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, fundraising events have ceased and individual donations have declined. To keep our community’s families afloat during this crisis, this critical work must endure. The Thurston County COVID-19 Response Fund makes that possible.