COVID-19 Testing - On 5/18/20, LCH reached out to UWSCC with a funding request from our COVID-19 Response Fund for $75,000 to initiate a mobile testing unit for the mushroom farms. Within 24 hours, we gathered a funding consortium with the American Mushroom Institute and our big sister United Way of Chester County. With $25,000 from each of us, we were able to fund this vital community health initiative. To date, hundreds of employees from our large mushroom industry producers have received free on-site testing and take-home supplies like masks and thermometers. Even more importantly, they received clear correct information on COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread of the virus among their families and co-workers.
Rent and Utilities Assistance - We have received repeated requests from the two agencies on the frontlines of Emergency Assistance in our area - Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) and Oxford Neighborhood Services (ONS). They are both equipped with highly-trained caseworkers who can handle the interviews with clients seeking aid. Both agencies have modified their capped limits on helping a family (how much they will let a family have dollarwise and how often a family can receive help per year) due to the length of this pandemic and the difficulties in quickly activating governmental aid such as unemployment. KACS is now handling 40+ families weekly and dispensing over $30,000 weekly in emergency aid. ONS is handling about 1/3 of that volume in the smaller Oxford area.
Food distribution - The Lighthouse in Oxford was shut down for their regular service as an after-school program by the virus. They moved swiftly to convert their facility to a easily-accessible drive up food distribution site for both food donations and weekly distribution to families in need. This Response fund purchased a commercial refrigerator for the facility to hold the milk and vegetable donations requiring refrigeration for this expansive food distribution, responding to over 100 families weekly.
Mental health - Family Service of Chester County is a recognized leader in providing individual and group support counseling in our area. They are also able to provide counseling in Spanish from a Masters level counselor. This pandemic has overwhelmed many families and individuals with a myriad of new stressors, while exacerbating the stressors that they already faced. These people are feeling new levels of fear, uncertainty, and despair, in addition to financial stress. People are afraid that they may catch the virus, or that they may lose vulnerable loved ones. At a time when we would want closeness with our loved ones more than ever, we are forced to stay distant. Those who were previously isolated are finding themselves experiening even greater loneliness. UWSCC funded remote counseling sessions in English and Spanish for people in need and funding for a free "Coping with Job Loss" support group.