This is a very challenging time for our community. Acknowledging the health, economic and community crises we are all up against with COVID-19, I’d like to expand the conversation beyond cleaning your hands and practicing social distancing to how we as a community can help each other get through this crisis.
There is a lot of uncertainty in our lives right now. It’s disruptive and unsettling. And while we cannot predict how things will unfold in the weeks and months to come, I have faith that we can count on each other.
Our news feeds are flooded with coronavirus updates, but in the last week more and more stories of community outreach are emerging. Community Services League rapidly redesigned its emergency assistance programs to continue serving their neighbors in need while doing everything they can to keep their staff safe. Each school district in Eastern Jackson County has quickly organized a school lunch program where students can pick up lunch to go. The Raytown Christian Church has mobilized a network of churches and volunteers in Raytown and revamped their summer lunch program, to provide food assistance now to their neighbors in need. People all over the community are stepping up to support nonprofits and families in the community. We are reaching out to nonprofits in our community to learn more about what they are doing to respond to the crisis and will soon have this information on our website.
This is a critical time for nonprofits and agencies that serve those most vulnerable in our community. There is no doubt that increased spread of the virus and social distancing methods to limit the spread are having a big impact on our region. Local health clinics and hospitals may soon be at capacity with patients.
Nonprofits working with individuals and families experiencing job loss will need increased support to provide access to food and supplement lost wages in order to make rent and mortgage payments. Many of these nonprofit organizations had to cancel fundraising events, creating even more strain during a time of increasing need for their services. There is financial support coming from the federal government, however, many people will be seeking help for the first time and will need the assistance of local nonprofits to navigate the process.
Truman Heartland Community Foundation is continually assessing community needs during this challenging time. We are in communication with community leaders and organizations to learn how we can best support our community. During this unprecedented crisis, we are encouraging our fundholders with donor-advised funds to be generous with grants from their fund to nonprofit organizations who are battling to address the growing needs. We are ramping up our communication with our fundholders to keep them updated on where their support can make a big difference. And as I mentioned, we will soon have a resource on our website where you can learn about how our nonprofit organizations are responding to the crisis.
Our community is very fortunate to have dedicated local governments, school districts and health care providers working hard to ensure that our communities remain safe. And we are fortunate to have many strong nonprofits and their supporters who are helping us reach out to our neighbors in need dealing with both the health challenges and the economic fallout of the crisis. The situation will continue to evolve and change daily. What remains the same is that we can count on each other. It will take us coming together as a community to overcome this challenge, but rest assured that we will. Stay safe and healthy.
Phil Hanson is the president and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to improving the communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through cooperation with community members and donors. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call Truman Heartland at 816.836.8189.