United Way of Knox County, Ohio Inc
Update for the Week of April 13, 2020
In these times of uncertainty and crisis, you have the power to do good for our Knox County community. We are at our best when we help each other.

With this in mind, United Way of Knox County has created a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund — Social distancing forces us apart, but compassion defies distance. Visit our website uwayknox.org/Respond to donate to United Way’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund today.
In our United Way Newsletter, we continue to focused on sharing information and opportunities that could be useful to anyone facing the challenges of retaining a form of community and to support emotional wellness.

We are working with our partners to collect program success stories in this challenging time, which we look forward to sharing with the Knox County Community in the coming weeks.
The Winter Sanctuary Shares a Successful Season
The Winter Sanctuary has shared the results of a challenging but successful shelter season. They provided 3,253 bed/nights for 107 different homeless guests at the shelter located on West Vine Street.  The Winter Sanctuary's mission is to provide seasonal, emergency shelter for the members of our community who experience homelessness and to connect them with the resources that empower them to be successful and self-sufficient.  
Emergency shelter is needed in our community, but the Winter Sanctuary does its best to do more than just put a roof over a guest's head. Each shelter guest met with advocates, Joe Springer and Ann Marie Wiley, at least two times a week. Together they developed goals and were connected to resources to help them successfully achieve those goals. Most guests set the goal of attaining safe affordable housing, but the shelter advocates also connected them to resources to address any underlying issues that led them to become homeless. Many guest were connected to local resources that address mental health, substance misuse, employment, disability, and transportation.  
In March the shelter was challenged with the COVID-19 virus. The Winter Sanctuary met with the Knox County Health Commissioner, Julie Miller, to discuss the safety of both guests and their 70+ volunteers. The setup of the facility does not allow the shelter to isolate infected guests or practice social distancing. The difficult decision was made to close the shelter on April 1st, a month earlier than originally planned.  
With the early closer date of the shelter a new goal was developed by both the staff and the Winter Sanctuary Board of Directors. The new goal was to ensure each and every guest would be safely sheltered at season’s end on April 1st. In the month of March, 10 guests moved into an apartment, 10 guests moved in with friends or family, and 1 guest moved into a sober living home. There were still 6 guests that had nowhere to go. With the support of Knox County Foundation those 6 guests were moved to a hotel where they continue to work with the shelter advocates on their goals. The homeless shelter had a challenging season, but there was not a single guest that had to resort to living on the street or in the woods. The Winter Sanctuary expressed that they are incredibly thankful for the advocacy program that is supported by the United Way , our wonderful volunteers, and the entire community that has sacrificed to support guests during this difficult time.
Physical Distance, Not Isolation

our Agency Partner, Behavioral Healthcare Partners , provides integrated mental health and addiction treatment services for youth, adults and families. They address needs by offering a full range of services through a comprehensive continuum of care, including the United Way partner program: School Intervention. We reached out to BHP to ask for guidance for those of us at home who are trying to handle the new stresses introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Living in a smaller community, we often think we are immune from the ills of the world. Unfortunately, as we have seen recently, this isn’t always the case. The Pandemic is rapidly changing many things in our community and around the world. The most notable changes for a lot of people are health and financial concerns, both which top the list of most stressful life events. No wonder we are all bundles of stress right now.
Below are several suggestions for reducing stress. Try them all, or only a few, to determine which combination works best for you. Just don’t fall into the trap of trying to do all these things perfectly. Do what works best for you and of course, don’t forget to eat your veggies, get plenty of sleep, and take your vitamins.

Tips for Staying Mentally Well During a Pandemic

Connect.  There seems to be some confusion around social distancing vs. isolation. They are not one in the same. Yes, we need to stay at home as much as possible and keep our distance from those we don’t live with, but we can still stay connected. It’s time to put on our creative hats. Have a virtual happy hour with your gal pals, host a virtual book club, download a game playing app like Tabletopia and play a game from across the miles or across the street. Just stay in contact with people you love and like.

Limit information gathering.  There is no other way to say it, but during this time of information overload, you have to tune out. Limit the amount of time and ways you get information about the Pandemic. This includes limiting social media. Find one or two ways to get fact-based and balanced information and tune the rest out.

Exercise.  Endorphins, am I right? Those lovely little by-products of exercise always improve your mood. Go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride.

Go outside . Knox County has some of the most beautiful countryside in the state. Go take a hike or ride a bike next to the Kokosing. Learn to become a nature photographer or learn about the local flowers and birds. Being in nature is naturally calming to humans and can significantly lower your stress level.

Plan activities for when this is over . This will end and life will return to normal. Plan out a trip with your family or friends. Research an area to visit and make a travel vision board. Thinking about positive things in the future will help bring you hope and keep perspective that this is only temporary.

Maintain a routine . It is very easy to fall out of our routines when there is no job or school to go to. However, keeping our typical structure can be very helpful. It may be tempting to catch another hour of sleep, but keeping your normal routine will bring a sense of normality to your day.

Stress is normal during a pandemic. Anxiety and depression go hand and hand with stress. Doing the items above will go a long way in helping you reduce your stress and feel better. However, if you find you could use some support during this time or after, please reach out to BHP (740.397.0442). We can provide assistance over the phone or through a video chat.

Stay healthy and happy – Kate St. James, President & CEO, BHP
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Partner Agency, New Directions Shelter of Knox County Ohio will be promoting April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month by joining in an online campaign. While physical distancing guidelines prevent the community from coming together in awareness events or hosting speakers, there are several ways to show support from home.
Visit the New Directions Facebook Page or Instagram Account to learn more about Sexual Assault including how to support survivors, create boundaries. They will be sharing educational content such as describing the role of an advocate, and providing statistics to combat stigma of the issue.

Each year on the First Tuesday in April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) Day of Action provides a day to focus awareness on sexual violence prevention. Our United Way team showed support by wearing teal in the daily Skype staff meeting.
April 29 is Denim Day. On this date, wear jeans to take a stand against victim blaming. Post photos online and tag New Directions to participate in contests for prizes and visit denimdayinfo.org to learn more about the movement.
SPI Summer Camp Registration Open Now!
United Way's partner agency, SPI, has opened the registration for upcoming summer programming. The list of available programs gives us all something to look forward to!

Kids who participate in SPI camps will have the chance to get their hands dirty (and in many instances, their feet wet). They'll explore film technology or consider the science of sport. Kids, grandkids, neighbors, and students will have a lot of pent up energy to expend - SPI is here to deliver fun opportunities to release it! See the full listing of options on their website.

Prescriptions and Grocery Delivery Available

United Way of Knox County has announced a partnership between Knox Area Transit and the Knox County Community Chaplains group to provide delivery of medications and groceries, to seniors and those with at-risk medical conditions in Knox County.

Susie Simpson, Knox County Mobility Manager is taking phone calls and arranging for deliveries Monday through Saturday, from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M., and Sunday from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. Those needing this service can call Simpson at 740-485-5002.

To date, over 75 individuals have called requesting food and prescription transportation assistance, wellness checks, information, or homemade personal protective equipment.
FamilyWize Prescription Savings Cards
Cards can be used by anyone to receive a discount on prescriptions! When someone calls in to get a script filled or refilled, they can ask that the FamilyWize discount be applied by providing them the following information that is on the card and found online. Since FamilyWize does not require registration, there is no need for to physically show the pharmacy a card.   Additional details are on our website.
United States Census 2020
Visit my2020census.gov to complete the census.

Your response matters! The Census data is used to determine: School lunches, Plans for highways, Support for firefighters and families in need, and so much more in our community. Learn more about the census online.
Economic Impact Payments
Because United Way of Knox County Ohio Inc serves as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Site, the IRS has asked for our help in sharing information about the Economic Impact Payments that are to be issued to qualifying Americans.

There are several ways to access free confidential assistance to community resources or referrals:
CALL: 2-1-1, 345-HELP, or 1-800-544-1601 
TEXT: your zip code to 898211
VISIT: 211pathways.org
Resources for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Medical Questions about COVID-19, Call 740-399-8014
Physical volunteer opportunities are limited at this time. Instead, we encourage community members to adhere to the stay-at-home instruction from the state of Ohio and to make an impact from the comfort of their home. Once the order has been listed, additional volunteer opportunities will be shared.

We aim to make United Way activities a reflection of Knox County's priorities. We rely on community volunteers to lead the process, we strive to LIVE UNITED.
Local Health Officials Are Seeking Donations For Use In Knox County
Our healthcare system is at risk of not having enough supplies to protect themselves as they care for patients with COVID-19. Information on donating fabric face masks and commercial protective equipment is available online. Read the full details prepared in partnership with United Way, Knox Community Hospital, and Knox Public Health online.
American Red Cross Blood Drives

Public Health is currently a large concern. Cancelled appointments and drives put the country at risk for a blood shortage. Healthy eligible donors are encouraged to give back to their community by donating blood. Upcoming Emergency Response Blood Drive:

Thursday, April 16 - available appointments 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Memorial Building Lower Level Dining Room at 112 East High Street in Mount Vernon

The link to schedule at the Memorial Building is RedCrossBlood.org, sponsor code KCSC, or you can schedule using the free Red Cross blood donor app on a smart phone or tablet.

Every whole blood donation can help save the lives of 3 patients!

Volunteer to Help at a Blood Drive

Contact Becky at Becky.Glass@RedCross.org for detailed volunteer selection information.

Volunteer to Help American Red Cross provide Disaster Relief Services

The American Red Cross is looking for local volunteers that would be willing to help provide local disaster relief services. In addition, they are also looking for 'HELP FROM HOME" volunteers to help with volunteer support. All required training and resources will be
provided. For more information, please email volunteerohio@redcross.org or visit the volunteer website at www.redcross.org/volunteer 
Medical Volunteers Needed
Knox Public Health (KPH) And Knox Community Hospital (KCH) are partnering to coordinate a database of volunteer healthcare providers to be utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be compiling the list of volunteers through an application process.  The application and a more detailed description of data protection and use can be found online.