April 18, 2020
Dear Friends of Batavia United Way,
Who could have ever thought this is what our 2020 would look like when we flipped our calendars to the New Year?
The COVID-19 pandemic, as you know, is a time in history like no other. Our mission is to adapt, support, get creative and improvise as we all get through this united and together. We sincerely hope this note finds you and yours well.
There are many COVID-19 funds established throughout the state and even country, and all are worthy. If, however, you would like to support local, have we got a fund for you! Thank you to those who have already donated to the Batavia Community COVID-19 fund, raising the bar for what we can accomplish.
Although we are making ourselves known and we are advocating for Batavia, it is not likely our community will see funds from the Illinois COVID -19 Fund established by Governor Pritzker. Regardless, we will get through this together and our fund is growing and strong.
In addition to generous donors, we are getting creative! We have had a Hoover-Wood School PTO fundraiser, a sidewalk chalk competition, and even Batavia Strong T-shirt sales to make fundraising fun and easy.
Where will these funds go? Back to Batavia of course! We have a Board of 14 who will provide guidance for fund distribution. In addition, we have consulted our Mayor, Batavia Main Street and our Batavia Chamber to identify needs. Here is what we have accomplished to date:
- Over 220 bags of groceries have been delivered to senior citizens, restaurant and hair salon employees suddenly unemployed, and families who have reached out for help. Bags have been filled with donations from 2 different drives we are conducting (see our website) and purchases made with COVID-19 fund donations. Deliveries are being scheduled by Marcy Dillon and our Board Members, bags are packed by Batavia United Way Board Member Kathy Evangelista and deliveries are made by the Batavia RSVP team of John Dillon, Gregg Hodge and Rich Kreis, all our heroes!
- 150 residents of Heritage Manor enjoyed snacks, crossword puzzle books, and handmade cards from kids. Pen pals are being formed!
- Three new iPads were donated to Windmill Manor residents to “check out” as they no longer have access to the community room computers and resources at their residential facilities.
- Three new and two gently used iPads were delivered to Riverrain, low income senior housing, for the same purpose. These donations have kept seniors connected to family, to the grocery store, to services and even to entertainment via card games and online shows.
- Batavia United Way organized a Sign-Up Genius, put out the call and over 96 volunteers stepped up to shop for an average of 30 residents a day over a period of 16 days. This helped an overwhelmed and stretched staff at the Holmstad which was working to keep things “normal” for residents and was tackling 30 shopping lists a day to support residents. Wow! You are incredible.
- Batavia United Way has set up a personal shopper program utilizing Berkley Finer Foods as a partner and volunteers as shoppers. It is difficult to get a grocery delivery or pick up slot with the major chain stores in our area and non-Holmstad seniors are struggling to get supplies too.
- Batavia United Way hired Rivers Edge to prepare and deliver a hearty meal for Mutual Ground domestic violence shelter. This agency was in need of meals as their guests, who hoped to live there on a temporary basis, are sheltering in place longer term. We were able to help an agency and a local business in one delicious delivery of Pork roast, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, salad, bread pudding and cookies. Amazing.
- Last, we are talking with the non-profit agencies we support with grants throughout typical years, to identify needs in this atypical year. These are specialists in the fields of rent assistance, utility assistance, medical and dental care, and food supply. Their services are fully vetted, and with their expertise, we can specifically support Batavians in need using our Community COVID-19 Fund, without reinventing the wheel or duplicating efforts. We are committed to being good stewards of your donations.
Thank you once again for your confidence in Batavia United Way and your continued support of our community. We are open to your thoughts and ideas....you are an extension of Batava United Way!
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. Sunny to days to come!
Batavia United Way