United Way of Knox County, Ohio Inc
Update for the Week of April 27, 2020
During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support our neighbors and our community. The COVID-19 pandemic is a new challenge for all of us, but the human desire to help one another is not. We ask you to consider helping by making a gift of any size. Donations to United Way’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund help ensure that vital partners agencies can support our community's path to recovery.

Visit uwayknox.org/Respond to donate to our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
In our United Way Newsletter, we are sharing the unique ways in which our partners have overcome the challenges of physical restrictions. We are inspired by their ability to see opportunities to adapt. We look forward to continuing to share updates and success stories from our community partners and programs in the coming weeks.
Healthcare Options Available from Home
Due to social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders, individuals are rescheduling plans and limiting their departures from home. However, basic needs - including our health - cannot be ignored. Important health services are available and should be utilized - especially in the case of an emergency. Many services have adapted to challenges by adopting telehealth options and still others are utilizing phone formats as a screening tool. Here we share just a few examples from United Way Health-focused Investment Programs.
United Way Partner Agency, The Freedom Center, continues to offer substance use, addiction, and mental health services to the community. While sessions and groups may look a little different than usual, current clients and those seeking to enter treatment can call to make an appointment. The United Way partner program, Program Care Management continues to accept new clients and serve existing clients. Case Managers are providing in-person and telephonic services to the clients including daily check-ins for social support. They are actively connecting clients with support for basic needs: housing, food, and transportation.
Kno-Ho-Co Ashland Community Action Commission United Way investment program, Women’s Reproductive Health Screenings is doing their best to limit opportunities for transmission while ensuring that the community has access to healthcare providers and birth control options. Their office has rescheduled and or delayed Annual Exams. Telehealth Services are available by calling the clinic and scheduling an Audio or Video Conference with the Nurse Practitioner. Walk-in appointments are currently unavailable, but if a new or established client has an immediate concern, they are able to schedule an appointment.
School closures prevent physical presence for the Behavioral Healthcare Partners United Way program, School Intervention. BHP is still providing needed services to students, schools, and parents through School Consultants. Consultants are utilizing a telehealth model to work with students in a combination of telephone and video-based interactions. They are using online meeting platforms to participate in student team meetings. Parents are also supported; school consultants provide interventions and tools to help students cope during social distancing.

BHP has additional mental health services available over the phone or by video chat which can be accessed by contacting 740.397.0442.
Knox County Community Health Center and Knox Community Hospital offer telehealth or telemedicine options to help meet needs in our community. Call your doctor or utilize one of the many available phone-based options. The medical professional who answers your call may make an appointment or refer you to urgent care or instruct you to visit the emergency room appropriately. Do not ignore signs of sever illness or injury.
Healthy Choices from Home : Knox Out Tobacco
The World Health Organization has shared visuals about lung health and smoking in relation to COVID-19. Our local partner program, Knox Out Tobacco, offers support for individuals in their quit-journey. Knox Public Health employees, who champion the program, boasted that they saw 26 new clients January through March with a 35% success rate for those quitting.
For more information about the program visit the Knox County Health Department website.

Current stay-at-home instructions have paused in-person meetings and the program has suspended enrolled any new clients. When an interested clients calls or emails, they are referred to the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line for counseling support and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Clients already previously enrolled in Knox Out Tobacco, visit the health department to pick up NRT and program representatives conduct telephone follow-ups with clients to support their quit journey. Cessation mentors (program funded by ODH) are also in contact with enrolled clients to offer encouragement and support.
Mindful Activity
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor at the Knox County Community Health Center, Melissa, shared some of what she calls the most important ways to cope with stress during this difficult time:

* Stay Connected to Family and Friends. This looks different right now, but it's still possible. Use technology - FaceTime, have a Zoom family meeting, or make a video and email it to loved ones *
* Get Outside (even on a cold day) to enjoy the sunshine. Fresh air and sunshine benefit our health and mental health *
* Disconnect from Media - television, movies, Netflix, social media are all wonderful - for a time, but we can also get overwhelmed with information *
* Do something Creative - paint a rock, sketch a tree *
* Practice an Old Hobby - did you play an instrument in high school or sing in the choir? *
* Take a Warm Bath or Shower with the lights dim *
* Just Breath. Breath in - like you are smelling a flower - hold it - and breath out - like you are blowing out a candle - (slowly) *
* Take a Walk, or ride a bike, or go for a run *
* Plan Something for the Future - even though the timeline is uncertain we can still plan something enjoyable/fun for the future, such as a day trip or vacation, or simply a lunch with a friend *

The Knox County Community Health Center also offers Outpatient Counseling Services for anyone facing difficulties and interested in seeking additional help.
Remote Bereavement Support Available
While the United Way Partner Program Grief Groups, provided by our Agency Partner Hospice of Knox County , has suspended adult group meetings and school groups. Hospice continues to offer individual face-to-face or telephone support visits with bereaved. They organization also uses mailings to provide support. The community partner also shared that they have been a recipient of Personal Protective Equipment provided by our local Knox Community Hospital and Knox County Health Department.
Camp Hope, a children's camp designed to offer a fun atmosphere for kids to learn how to deal with grief in a positive way is also included under the Grief Groups program and is planned for June 2020. Information and instructions for registration for Camp Hope are available online.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about services available through Hospice of Knox County, please contact 740.397.5188.
April Alcohol Awareness Month
Knox Substance Abuse Action Team is sharing public announcements for April Alcohol Awareness month. Prevention efforts share data for alcohol-related injury and death, science behind what alcohol affects the brain, encourages healthy lifestyles, and more. The fact are sobering - Alcohol causes mood changes, behavior changes, impaired thinking and coordination. It contributed to 10,511 lives lost in alcohol-related crashes in 2018. Test your alcohol knowledge online.

These "Know Your Limit" banners hang in downtown Mount Vernon as a reminder that Alcohol Awareness month. The time at home right now offers families and social networks the opportunity to talk to kids, teenagers, and adults about choices surrounding alcohol.
Know the facts, visit the KSAAT website and Facebook Page to learn more. If you have not already seen the insightful Be a Parent, Not a Friend video prepared by the Teen Advisory Council - view now online.
Story Time with Imagination Library
Expand your family's story time to include guests from Ohio Governor's Imagination Library's video reading series! Watch the video on the United Way Facebook Page. Dolly Parton, founder of the Imagination Library, is also sharing a weekly Thursday night bedtime story online that families can participate in for free but will also be shared online to enjoy anytime . Dolly's story time was even recently featured in NPR in an article that also shared the list of books to be featured.
Since March 11, United Way has processed over 109 new registrations for children ages of 0 and 5 to enroll in Imagination Library. This free book program is for all Knox County children under age five - no other qualifications required. Books are mailed directly to your home each month. Register your child today using the tool available on our website .
File Taxes for Free
Physical distancing and stay-at-home orders make our Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) program temporarily unavailable, but free tax support is still available. United Way partners with H&R Block to provide free online tax preparation to every household with a simple return. Complete your 2019 Federal and State Tax return from the comfort and safety of your home.
Go to My Free Taxes Free Self-Serve Site to file your taxes online. If you are not sure if your return qualifies for the free service, read the guidelines.
Prescriptions and Grocery Delivery Available

United Way of Knox County supports the partnership between Knox Area Transit and the Knox County Community Chaplains group to provide medication and grocery delivery service 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 200 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.

Every 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
The Federal and Ohio tax deadlines are extended to July 15. However, it may be advantage to file early and make sure that Economic Impact Payments are accurate and delivered directly to the correct bank account. File for free online.

Many individuals who do not usually file taxes - including Eligible Social Security recipients, railroad retirees - are not required to file a return or provide further information. For other non-filers, The IRS needs information on how they can deliver this money. This can be submitted to the IRS free of charge.

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. To schedule a local appointment at RedCrossBlood.org and enter a Knox County Zip Code, 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 as use can be found online.
Support Local High School Students
This has been a difficult school year for our students. The Class of 2020 faces uncertainty of postponed, virtual, or canceled high school graduations. Local efforts were created to honor our county's graduating seniors. 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.