Updated: April 16, 2020 05:33 PM
Created: April 16, 2020 02:48 PM
The St. Croix Valley Foundation has partnered with the United Way-St Croix Valley and United Way-Washington County-East to create a special COVID-19 response fund to help nonprofits providing basic services in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
The fund has helped 64 organizations with $377,500 in grants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The St. Croix Valley Foundation said it tried to focus on groups that provide basic assistance, including food, rent payments and mental health services.
"I think it's been really gratifying to really look across the region at the wide range of nonprofits that are stepping up to respond," said Heather Logelin, President of the St. Croix Valley Foundation.
The grants have been sent to organizations in Chisago and Washington counties in Minnesota and Burnett, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.
The special fund was started with assistance by the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation ($150,000), the Fred C. & Katherine B. Andersen Foundation ($150,000), SCVF ($35,000) and various other donor groups.
Five Loaves, a food shelf in New Richmond, Wisconsin received a grant from the special fund.
"'Here's $2,500 for you,' that's exactly what they did and that buys a lot of groceries," said Jean Needham, executive director at the food shelf.
Needham said those dollars can be stretched seven times that amount to buy food through the various providers they work with in the area, which could go a long way in uncertain times.
"I usually worry about if we are going to have the food and the supplies we need for our clients," said manager Jennifer Hanson.
The food shelf helps 500 families who qualify for assistance each month in St. Croix County, but now due to COVID-19, they are preparing to help anyone who pulls up in need of food, which means being ready for a possible surge.
"We're trying to take that stigma away that if you need help right now ... please come in and we are going to give you the help you need," Hanson said.
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