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Emergency Food and Shelter and 211 | United Way

A note from Terri Legg | Executive Director
United Way Montcalm – Ionia Counties, Michigan

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to touch base with you with regard to United Way’s Emergency Food and Shelter program, 211 and supports for our community. The health and safety of our community is our priority. We, as many of you are, are very concerned about our ALICE households and about food insecurity in our region.  

UW staff is actively advocating for state, local and national supports to come to our region (Montcalm and Ionia County specifically) to help our ALICE households.  

Here is what we are working on currently:

  • Coordinated effort for all emergency food supports to include donations and volunteer efforts will go through the United Way Emergency Food and Shelter Board. Any donations for food supports should be made directly to United Way with a memo that it is for food insecurity. Those donor dollars will then be allocated by the Emergency Food and Shelter Board to the pantries in the community.
  • We are currently performing an inventory of every pantry and service provider in our county to determine their CURRENT supports for our ALICE households. That includes finding the answers to – How has COVID-19 changed their normal operating procedures?  What is their current capacity? What do they need to meet that anticipated capacity?
  • As of 3/12/2020, our 211 began handling COVID-19 calls. There is a public-facing website with answers to commonly related questions that will be available at www.211.org/services/covid19
  • All pantries and emergency volunteer imitative will be vetted by our Emergency Managers and United Way before they are updated on 211.
  • We are actively working diligently to remind everyone to share 211 resources.
  • You can help us by promoting 211 and funneling all efforts through United Way to be vetted so that we can get 211 updated with the most accurate information.

It is imperative that you refer your clients, families, neighbors, partners to 211. Call volume through 211 helps to determine local supports and potential funding for our area.

We are monitoring the situation closely and staying in regular contact with federal agencies, health organizations, and our local Emergency Managers. If you need me or my staff to help with something, please reach out to me. If we need to open a volunteer center, we will do that but I need feedback from all of you if that is needed. You are welcome to share this email with your network.

The health and safety of our communities is our priority. Together, through a coordinated plan we will support the growing needs in our community.

Kindest regards, 

Terri Legg | Executive Director
United Way Montcalm – Ionia Counties, Michigan
P: 616.794.9840 | F: 616.794.9828
www.liveunitedm-i.org