If we’ve learned anything over the past few months of this pandemic, it’s that our community is more important than ever. Part of being a strong community is helping those around us who are the most vulnerable, and these days, there are lot of people who need social, emotional, and financial support.
I wanted to write this blog post about charities in our area for two reasons—one, if you’re in need, I want you to know where you can turn for help, and two, if you have the resources to give right now, these are some very deserving organizations that are doing good work.
United Way of Greater Lafayette
United Way of Greater Lafayette works hard for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our area. Right now, they’re heavily focused on keeping people in their homes as the moratorium on evictions ends (on June 30th). If you need help, please call (765) 201-0668. For any other type of help you might need, check out all of the resources here.
The United Way is also administering a COVID-19 response fund that’s focused on quickly distributing money to other non-profits in our area so they can reach as many people as possible. These services include food distribution (especially to children), rent and utility assistance, access to childcare, shelter for those who are experiencing homelessness, and mental health and substance-abuse services.
If you’re interested in helping out, the United Way can always use your monetary contributions. I spoke with Tommy Sors, the United Way’s board president, and he said, “[the] community investment committee ensures that the money we receive is invested in the various agencies whose services and programs address critical needs in our community.” There are also a lot of opportunities to lend a hand. Here’s a list of COVID-19 volunteer opportunities, and you can also keep an eye out for other opportunities at the United Way’s volunteer center.
Food Finders Food Bank
Food Finders Food Bank is playing an important role in getting food into the hands of those who need it most during the pandemic; they’ve quickly transformed their programs to safely serve as many people as possible. At the beginning of June, they partnered with the USDA to begin distributing boxes full of fresh, high-quality food, including dairy, meat, and produce. Food Finders is also hosting a drive-through pantry on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. at Linwood School in Lafayette—no ID or proof of income required.
If you’re interested in helping Food Finders, just a $25 donation provides 75 nutritious meals! Right now, Food Finders has canceled all volunteer shifts and is using the Indiana National Guard to serve those in need. However, once they’re accepting volunteer help again, you can find all those opportunities here.
Bauer Family Resources
Bauer Family Resources provides youth- and family-focused services for those with limited resources who want to improve their family’s life. These services include counseling as well as housing, food, clothing, employment, childcare, and financial assistance. Bauer Family Resources helps families beat the cycle of poverty, abuse, neglect, and addiction issues that often become worse when the economy goes downhill.
If you’d like to volunteer with Bauer Family Resources, just go here. You can also give monetary donations here. If you’re like me and can’t stay away from Amazon, Amazon Smile will give a percentage of your purchase to Bauer every time you shop (this doesn’t cost anything extra for you, but you do need to set it up—it’s quick)!
Family Promise of Greater Lafayette
Family Promise of Greater Lafayette is a short-term, emergency homeless shelter that provides a place to sleep, food, and transportation for families who have children under 18 years old. Adults can get also help looking for jobs and stable housing with Family Promise’s case management program.
Home with Hope
Home with Hope is the only organization of its kind in our area. It provides continuous care following treatment for addiction. Their program helps clients learn to become productive members of the community through monitoring, case management, counseling, recovery coaching, and drug and alcohol screening, as well as employment assistance. This helps people leave the endless cycle of dependency on social services behind for good. Services like this are critically important in situations like a pandemic, when more people are likely to turn to addictive substances for relief.
You can donate to Home with Hope here. You can also donate used furniture and appliances in good condition, working televisions, food, sheets, and new pillows, as well as toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies, and toys and books. If you’ve been cleaning out over the past few months, it’s worth checking the list to see if Home with Home can use anything you no longer need.
Meals on Wheels
Senior citizens have been hit hard by the pandemic. They are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and have to be cautious about leaving their homes, something that is often difficult even in the best of times. Meals on Wheels meals are made fresh daily, frozen, and then delivered to seniors for an easy lunch or dinner.
Assistance is available for those with low incomes. Even when seniors pay full price for the meals, Meals on Wheels loses $2 for each meal produced. Consider donating to the meal scholarship fund here. You can also help out with the general Meals on Wheels fund here. If you’re interested in driving a delivery route at least twice a month, Meals on Wheels would be happy to have the help! They train you, provide you with maps and instructions, and generally make your shift as easy as possible.
If you’re in need of help right now, there are several other resources that can provide extensive referrals and suggestions.
Indiana’s 2-1-1 hotline is a free, confidential service that provides suggestions for any needs you may have.
Greater Lafayette COVID-19 Mutual Aid Response Group
This group of concerned citizens is working hard to raise money and provide help for those with small needs that come up through the pandemic. It’s heartwarming to see such a caring group of people watching out for our own.
Community Resource Guide
This extensive community resource guide has a huge list of charities, complete with information about how they are helping those in need.
Now, more than ever, it’s so important for us to be able to rely on each other. If you know of other charities that are going to great lengths to help the community right now (there are many!), please leave a comment below.