United Way of Knox County, Ohio Inc
Update for the Week of May 25, 2020
The Memorial Day holiday honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Military. This year, large celebrations and parades have been canceled and large gatherings are still restricted. Knox County, including the Mount Vernon Community, has encouraged online Memorial Day remembrances. United Way joins by wishing everyone a safe Memorial Day.
On Monday, June 1, United Way of Knox County office will return to business hours 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Please call the office at 740.397.5721 to reach staff directly or email liveunited@uwayknox.org
Collecting Funds for COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery
The pandemic is a new challenge for our community, but the desire to help our neighbors is not. Visit uwayknox.org/Respond to donate to Knox County's COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. These funds will be used to support the organizations helping those who need it most.
United Way looks forward to providing detailed feedback to our donors. Information provided to the community will include a report of how the donated dollars are distributed and the community impact of those allocations.
Funds Available to Knox County
Federal Funds
The Knox County Commissioners and United Way of Knox County Ohio, Inc partner in leading the Emergency Food and Shelter Program Local Board in Knox County, which supports the community in allocating Federal funds to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county.

The EFSP Board has announced an application for Phase 37 and Phase CARES allocations. The application can be accessed through the United Way website or by contacting the Board of Knox County Commissioners. The deadline for applications to be received is 4 p.m., Friday, May 22, 2020.
Community Funds
United Way is accepting online applications from 501(c)(3) agencies for investments through a COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery grant process.

United Way seeks to deliver value to the Knox County Community by strategically investing in programs that will boost long-term recovery and resilience. Applications submitted should be specific to program efforts that are either expanded or introduced in response to the pandemic and will help our community recover from the impacts of it. The process for completing an application is available online. Please contact Program Director, Elizabeth Doolittle with questions.
YMCA Returns to Community Wellness
Our Agency Partner, the YMCA of Mount Vernon closed their facilities and paused programming in March. The YMCA has provided fitness and wellness content and community engagement through their Facebook and Instagram throughout the pandemic but are excited to return to their physical locations. They YMCA is planning a staggered approach to reactivating programs. The announcement shared on May 18 includes:
May 26 - Fitness Center, (limited) Land-based Exercise Classes,
(limited use) Locker Rooms, Pickleball & Racketball available
June 1 - Childcare Facilities (not Childwatch) open with specific instructions for families
June 8 - Pool open for (limited) Aqua Aerobics & Adult lap
The full announcement shared by YMCA Executive Director Nick Clark is available online. Questions can be directed to membership@mtvymca.org
Knox County Head Start Preparing for New School Year
Knox County Head Start is accepting applications for the 2020-2021 School Year! Begin the application process online. The organization expressed that are practicing social distancing rules and will reach out to applicants to complete the interview process via telephone, email, or Zoom!
New Directions Works to Reduce Risk
New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter and Rape Crisis Center has maintained all services during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some instances, services have been modified. Specifically, face-to-face advocacy meetings with clients is limited, propelling an increased effort to move to phone calls and video-based (Zoom) calls. The shelter continues to provide services and bring people into shelter who need immediate safety for the duration of COVID-19. New Directions has implemented safety precautions for working with clients who require in-person meetings and are using personal protective equipment for staff and clients.
Between March 1 and May 15, the agency sheltered 7 adults and 4 youth, received 84 hotline calls, as well as 15 Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) calls from local law enforcement entities. In-person meetings are most needed in the area of Legal advocacy to complete Civil Protection Orders. Direct service staff have continued to provide services to clients in shelter. The agency is working to meet the needs of the community during this time of social distancing.
New Direction's Youth Advocate found a creative way to stay connected with youth during this difficult time. She created activity bags filled with items that could be used as ways to deal with stress. These bags also contained items that the families could use to connect with one another. No-contact pick-up was offered by placing bags outside the shelter and inviting parents to bring their youth to pick-up their bag. During this time, the Youth Advocate has also offered video-Zoom calls, which the youth have enjoyed.
Watch for new areas being offered too! The Youth Advocate has recently been certified in Youth Yoga and looks forward to when she can begin in-person youth yoga groups to clients and the larger community. New Direction's Prevention Team has also been busy creating appealing platforms for programs. They have learned to use TikTok an engagement tool and decorated rocks with special messages to share in the community! 
Edible Knox Expands to Support Gardens at Home
Since 2018, Knox County Local Food Council and Get Healthy Knox County have spearheaded an Edible Knox movement, with the goal of providing fresh, healthy produce to the Knox County Community. The project features planters at various organizations' location, inviting community member to pick produce from the planter to keep. Program participants are also offered recipes chosen from Celebrate Your Plate (a SNAP-Ed resource) featuring the produce offered in their planters.
This year, the Edible Knox steering committee is still encouraging organizations to participate, but due to the limited capacity, will be providing minimal hands-on support and materials. Instead, the Edible Knox project is shifting focus to provide access to fresh foods to individuals who most need it. The program is supported by United Way, who provided funds for root pouches, WIC, who provided the soil to fill the pouches, and Community Roots, whose volunteers have been growing the plants from their homes to be included inside the pouches. The Knox County Local Food Council will be providing plants in root pouches at Knox Public Health for participants of the WIC Clinic and at Center of Hope Knox County for individuals who utilize the food pantry.

Tomato, pepper, kale, cucumber, squash, melon and zucchini plants will be available for those participating to grow in their root pouches. Each participating individual or group receiving materials will also be provided with an informational packet with  recipes, gardening tips, and a contact list of people they can direct their questions to. Community members interested in learning more about the project or how to become involved can contact the Ohio State Extension Office SNAP Education program coordinator.
Check-in Phone Calls Offered to Older Adults
The Ohio Department of Aging is offering a free, daily check-in by phone for Ohioans age 60 or older. This service can also connect those registered with aging network information, support and contact a third party if the individual does not answer after three call attempts. Registration is simple and available online.
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.
Medical Volunteers Needed
Knox Public Health (KPH) And Knox Community Hospital (KCH) are partnering to coordinate a database of volunteer healthcare providers. A volunteer application and a more detailed description of data protection as use can be found online.

Local Health Officials Are Seeking Donations For Use In Knox County
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 drive: May 28 from 12-5 at Kenyon College.

Support Local High School Students
The Facebook group "Adopt a 2020 Senior" invites locals to "adopt" a high school senior by sending a letter, a card, or a kind word to help support them through this emotional time.