FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two major non-profits are teaming up to help Southwest Florida communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation and United Way are organizing emergency funds to send relief to local families.
It's a two-fold effort of raising local emergency resources and directing people where to find help.
Right now, fundraising for COVID-19 relief is facing a new challenge.
The Foundation says a majority of emergency funds donated by people in the past were from outside Southwest Florida, but with the pandemic impacting the entire globe those funds aren't coming in like they used to.
“All of our dynamics have changed during this pandemic. Nothing is the same as it used to be, so we want to navigate this with compassion and clarity and make sure we’re doing what we can in appropriate ways to get the word out because people do want to react to this," said Sarah Owens, CEO of SWFL Community Foundation.
She says if able, people have a trusted place to donate with the Foundation.
The emergency relief fund recently distributed $70,000 to several small, local non-profits serving on the front lines, like the Harry Chapin food bank.
The Foundation says hunger relief is one of the major needs across the area right now.
"There is a lot of need. A lot of people are out of work, a lot of people are waiting on their stimulus checks, and everybody wants to feed their families, so all of the nonprofits in the community have really rallied. Particularly, those who are doing food distribution to try to get food into the hands of hungry people," stated Owens.
Anyone needing help to find available resources in Southwest Florida can call the 2-1-1 Helpline with the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties.
For people looking to give or learn more about the Community Foundation, click here.