5 Things You Can Do To Fight the Corona Crisis

When you feel the most helpless, you actually have the power to do the most good.

As we move into social distancing and self-quarantine, it’s natural to feel isolated. Staying away from other people, though necessary, doesn’t fulfill our need to take action, to do something in the face of this crisis.

Fortunately, even in isolation, you can help the most vulnerable among us. Because we are never truly alone in our human community.

1. Donate to the Heart of Missouri United Way COVID-19 Fund.

Your gift supports community resources that serve struggling families in Boone, Cooper, and Howard Counties. Workers are losing wages and tips due to event cancellations and business closures. Kids who rely on free- and reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school risk going hungry. As food pantries and other community resources are inundated, donations to the Heart of Missouri United Way COVID-19 Fund help ensure these vital relief services stay open and accessible.

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2. Direct people to 211.

United Way 211 is working on the front lines of the pandemic. Expert 211 specialists provide real-time information on social services and other resources to those in need. If you know someone who is struggling or just looking for a source of reliable information, tell them to Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626.

3. Call your friends and family.

Loneliness is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Even during isolation, modern technology allows us to stay connected. Checking in on friends and family is more than polite right now, it’s essential. And don’t forget elderly neighbors or others living alone.

4. Take care of your mental health.

If you’re stuck at home, keep busy with hobbies, try out arts and crafts, pick up an old musical instrument, organize family game nights, and step outside for fresh air and exercise. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself.

5. Apply for grant funding

Non-profit Health and Human Service Organizations and all other organizations adapting to health recommendations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and/or serving emergent community needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to apply.

United Way COVID-19 Fund Grant Awards

United Way Awards $271,096 to local nonprofits serving community needs amidst COVID-19 pandemic
Heart of Missouri United Way made three promises when the pandemic struck last month:

  • 100% of donations raised through the CoMoHelps COVID-19 Fund could go to any local health and human service nonprofit
  • Funds would be made available quickly
  • Agencies would have the flexibility to meet emerging needs with CoMoHelps COVID-19 Funds

Additionally, local non-profits with current Heart of Missouri United Way Health, Basic Needs, Financial Stability, and Education Impact grant awards: monthly payments will continue uninterrupted; and funding may be used to adapt service delivery to protect public health.

CoMoHELPS is a collaborative effort of Boone County, the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, the City of Columbia, Heart of Missouri United Way, and Veterans United Foundation. Together, local community funders review all requests for CoMoHelps COVID-19 funds and work together to identify the best way to meet the community’s needs. To Get Help or Give Help, please visit

United Way’s first COVID-19 Grants address one of our community’s top priority needs: access to basic needs such as food and hygiene items. United Way, through these grants, is committed to ensuring support reaches members of our community who are most vulnerable and those who suddenly find themselves fragile.

Almeta Crayton’s Community Programs – Feeding the City of Columbia for more than 14 years with Everyone Eats, a Thanksgiving program, and a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Poor Man’s Breakfast, Almeta Crayton’s Community Programs continues to meet the challenge of feeding members of our community. In addition to food pick-up and delivery options, the program is also delivering much needed basic hygiene and household cleaning supplies to our neighbors without transportation. United in the fight for equity, the program is also disseminating accurate and culturally competent health information. First awarded $10,000.00 on April 10.

Boys and Girls Club – Typically serving more than 600 kids throughout school programming, the Boys and Girls Club is now meeting families’ priority food needs. The Curbside Pickup program provides healthy dinners and snacks, as well as juices and milk for all kids in the community ranging from 5 to 18 years of age. The Club anticipates serving 5,000 meals in April to keep kids in our community fed and healthy. First awarded $12,000 on April 9. Second award $20,000 on July 10.

Columbia Homeless Outreach Team – For individuals and families without shelter, the “stay-at-home” order is impossible to achieve. The Columbia Homeless Outreach Team helps by delivering tents, sleeping bags, food, and essential supplies for surviving outdoors to our friends and neighbors without a place to call home. First awarded $22,750 on April 16.

Columbia Public Schools Foundation – Providing 1,300 meals daily, Columbia Public Schools is helping ensure food security for children in need with food delivery to 80 locations. All children living in Columbia are eligible to receive these free meals. First awarded $75,000 on May 19.

The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri – The Food Bank provides food to many organizations throughout the community. With the Food Bank’s purchasing power and distribution channels, this grant could provide more than 100 tons of produce to our community members in need. First awarded $45,000 on April 6.

The Salvation Army – Helping people on the verge of homelessness sustain or secure safe shelter, The Salvation Army is providing rent/mortgage assistance or motel vouchers, and support in navigating long term housing solutions. This award is part of a coordinated funding effort that provides funds to several nonprofits organizations prioritizing the housing needs in our community. First awarded, $15,000 on April 20.

Mary Lee Johnston Community Learning Center – Meeting the critical childcare needs of essential workers, Mary Lee Johnston Community Learning Center delivers high-quality early childhood education and meets the public health guidelines for protecting staff and children during the pandemic. First awarded $25,636 on April 16.

Missouri Rural Crisis Center – Patchwork Family Farms, a project of MO Rural Crisis Center, works with producers, processors, storage facilities, restaurants, and grocery stores to market sustainably raised pork throughout mid-Missouri. This grant provides funding for providing pork-filled boxes to individuals in need and two area restaurants preparing free meals for neighbors in need. First awarded, $14,225 on April 30, 2020.

Phoenix Programs – To continue providing residential services, Phoenix Programs clients and staff are quarantined. Food and basic hygiene items are in higher demand as Phoenix Programs provides for its staff and clients. First awarded $5,670.00 on April 2.

Southern Boone School District Summer Lunch Program in care of The Community Foundation of Central Missouri – Provides lunch throughout the summer to ensure food security for children in need. First awarded $10,150.50 on June 18.

Turning Point at Wilkes Boulevard – This drop-in day center for people experiencing homelessness or near homelessness continue to provide services following public health guidance and has extended their hours during the pandemic. Turning Point provides a place to shower, wash laundry, and tend to basic hygiene needs. First awarded $5,665.00 on April 1.

Voluntary Action Center – VAC is a longstanding resource for members of our community who find themselves in crisis. VAC is continuing to provide services following public health guidance. As members of our community are laid-off, more and more people are relying on VAC for much needed basic hygiene items, food, and rental assistance. First awarded $5,000.00 on April 2. Second award $5,000 on June 29.

Heart of Missouri United Way thanks our leading COVID-19 Fund donors: Veterans United Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Simmons Bank, Boone County Community Trust, Shelter Insurance Foundation, Missouri Employer’s Mutual, Columbia Insurance Group, Great Southern Bank, Commerce Bank, First State Community Bank, Providence Bank, The Bank of Missouri, Caterpillar Foundation, Schnucks, Hawthorn Bank, 3M and Columbia United Church of Christ.

Access 2-1-1
How organizations provide their services and protect public health has resulted in a lot of changes as organizations adapt. These organizations can provide financial aid, food, childcare, mental health services, or other essential services and are updating their information with United Way 2-1-1. Many organizations are available by appointment only at this time. If you need assistance, call 2-1-1 to learn more. It’s FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. Specialists are available 24/7. Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 TTY 1-866-385-6525