COVID-19 Response: Meeting the Needs of Our Community

Liz WertzCOVID-19 Response

Image reads: COVID-19 Community Response Meeting the Needs of Our Community

For the past 80 years, United Way of the Ozarks has been committed to meeting the needs of our community. When Coronavirus reached the Ozarks in March 2020, United Way of the Ozarks knew that our local nonprofits would be needed more than ever before. With the demand for services increasing and fundraising efforts decreasing because of safety precautions, we called our donors and the local community at large to help us keep nonprofit operations running safely. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve emphasized safety while working to keep our community connected, as unprecedented times bring unprecedented needs. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to since the pandemic arrived to the Ozarks.

Distributed over 100,000 masks and face coverings

United Way of the Ozarks purchased 109,618 face coverings and distributed these to our partner nonprofits. We partnered with the city to provide 10,000 masks free of charge to businesses that would like to make free masks available to their customers.

Thanks to our collaboration with the Missouri State University’s Innovation Lab, United Way of the Ozarks was able to distribute 316 face shields to several local nonprofits to keep their staff and volunteers safe while providing critical social services to our community. We also made these available to every school nurse in Springfield Public Schools through our partnership with SPS Health Services

Made over $170,200 in grants from our Coronavirus Response Fund

Our partners expressed concerns about funding shortfalls and the need for critical supplies that came with facing the Coronavirus pandemic. Through the Coronavirus Response Fund allocations, our nonprofit partners were able to purchase the supplies necessary to continue operating safely. This includes:

  • Equipment for virtual communications (laptops, headsets, cameras)
  • Cleaning and sanitizing products
  • Personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, plexiglass shields)
  • Bed and mattress sets for formerly homeless families
  • Internet services
  • Contactless thermometers
  • Tools to effectively implement physical distancing guidelines
Provided truckloads of supplies to the nonprofit community

In what our team dubbed “Operation Hand Sanitizer,” we purchased a 55-gallon drum of hand sanitizer from a local vendor and distributed individual gallons to our partners at no cost. Learn more at Ozarks First.

Through the CARES Reserve Fund, United Way of the Ozarks was able to purchase COVID-related supplies, which were distributed to Springfield’s nonprofit community. These supplies included:

  • 1,500 4-roll packages of toilet paper
  • 100 8-roll packages of paper towels
  • 240 32-ounce bottles of all-purpose cleaner
  • 100 6-bottle cases of bleach
Join the fight and live united!

…And that was just in 2020! Stay tuned to our blog as we publish a “good news” story each week detailing the ways our community has risen to the pandemic’s challenge to LIVE UNITED. You can also sign up to receive our monthly newsletter to stay connected to the work United Way of the Ozarks is doing to make a difference in our community.

United Way of the Ozarks is committed to supporting our nonprofit community throughout the Coronavirus outbreak.