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United Way sets up COVID-19 fund

The United Way of Jackson County last week established a fund intended to help area residents who have fallen on hard times because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the agency is accepting donations.

The amount raised so far was not available Thursday, United Way Director Dee Anne Everson said, though the total includes two grants — for $50,000 from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation in Tacoma, Washington, and $25,000 from PacificSource. The grants started the fund budget, according to the United Way of Jackson County website.

“We are fulfilling lots of requests for emergency rent assistance, utility bills, child care and transportation,” Everson said. “It’s really wonderful that people are giving so generously, and it’s being put to use immediately.”

Money has even gone toward car repairs.

Efforts by the state of Oregon to slow the spread of the coronavirus have forced the closures of theaters, libraries, children’s learning centers and schools. Dine-in facilities have also shuttered statewide, though many restaurants are offering delivery and pickup services. All Oregon school districts are closed until April 24, with many families needing to find alternative child care options or working from home. While some utility companies such as Pacific Power have temporarily suspended disconnections and late fees for its customers, Everson said bill accrual remains.

“We’re trying to help people stay current because the further they fall behind, the more of a disaster it is,” Everson said.

For more information about how to donate, see www.unitedwayofjacksoncounty.org/covid-19-fund. All money goes directly to helping those financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s indefinite now,” Everson said of the fund. “None of us know how long this is going to last.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

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