As coronavirus reverberates across hospitals, offices, schools, and homes, we are reminded of our most basic shared value. We know that all of us depend on each other for a healthy community. The same priority guides our concern for those most economically vulnerable in a pandemic. This includes the families of hospitality, retail and other hourly workers, those experiencing homelessness, and children relying on school for one or more meals each day, among others.
In Humphreys County, almost 3 of every 5 workers lack sufficient savings to withstand a sudden loss in wages. With public events, schools and workplaces shuttering as the pandemic unfolds, hourly, low-wage workers will experience unprecedented financial hardship. The problem is acute for hospitality workers, retail workers, and other hourly workers, many living paycheck to paycheck, with no clear options for recouping lost wages. Additionally across the community, many children rely on federally funded school-based programs for one, two or more meals each day. As schools close, the demand for food assistance will increase for these children and their families.
In March of 2020, United Way of Humphreys County (UWHC) established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This fund helped provide a flexible source of assistance to help 62 families weather the COVID-19 crisis totaling $16,000 of help. We worked with our network of nonprofit agencies/organizations throughout the community to help ensure we made the biggest impact to prevent further family and financial disruptions.