At the beginning of the COVID crisis, it quickly became apparent of the critical need to to bring county-wide agencies
together to discuss all services related to the non-profit sector. United Way of Southern Chautauqua County stepped into the role of Resource HUB and community collaborator. We partnered with United Way of Northern Chautauqua County and organized weekly county-wide ZOOM meetings, where non-profit agencies were brought together with representatives from state and local government to better understand the many tasks, needs, resources, and new (and ever changing) legislation that daily impacted agency operations. In addition to the weekly Community Organization meetings, individual sectors began to meet to discuss unique challenges that COVID brought to the areas of behavioral health, childcare, food systems, housing and education. A community resource guide and food resource guide were developed, updated weekly and dispersed throughout the county to help agencies and individuals quickly access any emergency resources or services that may have been needed.
In addition, United Way developed a network of resources surrounding the community needs for face masks, sanitizer, personal hygiene products and other PPE. Collection sites were established across the county and a pick-up/delivery process was implemented to help move donated products and materials to those non-profits agencies where they were most needed. Grant funding was secured through the Crisis Response Fund to help secure masks for non-profit agencies and partnerships with many local mask making groups helped acquire needed resources for populations with the highest levels of need.
UWSCC also created an online volunteer registration system where volunteers could go and easily sign up to help at agencies in need of extra support. UWSCC promoted volunteer needs via social media, the website and made outreach phone calls helping to ensure volunteer coverage when and wherever it was needed. The online volunteer sign up process was automated, and went directly to each agency letting them know how many volunteers they could expect. Overall 220 volunteers hours were coordinated to support our local agencies!