United Way of Northeast Kentucky (UWNEK) announced today via a live stream broadcast the first allocation from the UWNEK COVID-19 Response Fund launched in March. The first two organization recipients are the Ashland Community Kitchen which is receiving $5,000.00 and River Cities Harvest which is receiving $10,000.00. UWNEK Executive Director Jerri Compton said the issue of food insecurity has been a long-time issue throughout our communities and has been increased due to the current issues caused by the COVID-19 virus.
“We have some food efforts throughout our communities to address these needs during normal times,” Compton said, “but given the current circumstances the need and the strain on providing for it has all increased.”
Donations have been made to the local response fund since the announcement was made by UWNEK in March and all donations have been matched dollar for dollar by UWNEK.
River Cities Harvest secures and distributes food throughout the local communities to food pantries and services. Ashland Community Kitchen, located inside The Neighborhood, distributes daily meals to individuals. Given the current restrictions, both organizations have had to alter operations in order to continue serving those in need.
“We continue to hear the need for food from 211 calls, throughout the community and from our organizations,” Compton said, “and the cost to obtain and serve the food has increased.”
Residents can continue to donate to the UWNEK COVID-19 Response Fund by visiting uwnkey.org/donate. Additionally, donors can also text COVIDNEKY to 313131. “By supporting the UWNEK COVID-19 Response Fund, you can do your part to assist coronavirus efforts while knowing that 100 percent of your donation will go towards efforts in your own community,” Compton said.
The fund provides small grants to UWNEK’s community partners for efforts related to the pandemic. Compton said that indirect, non-financial assistance has also occurred due in part to the creation of the fund and the partnership of the 211 program enabling the connection of requests for specific needs with donors and volunteers willing to help.
UWNEK is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that works with community programs to improve lives in neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. Established in 1936, UWNEK serves Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, and Greenup counties. For more information, visit uwnek.org or connect via social media at facebook.com/uwnek.