United Way looking to community to support those in need

United Way response fund. ( supplied, United Way Alberta Northwest Facebook)
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United Way Alberta Northwest is preparing to support those in Grande Prairie severely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. It has announced a partnership with local stakeholders to create a response fund hosted on Facebook.

Executive Director Jamie Craig believes seniors are one of the groups most affected by the virus. She hopes the fund is the best way to avoid anyone taking advantage of them during an outpouring of support.

“We have a few people from a few [Facebook groups] reach out to us wanting to [volunteer]. We’re like, ‘perfect come on board; just sign this confidentiality agreement and we will do a check on them,'” says Craig. “These are people who are vulnerable; we’re sending them to their houses to give them supplies and pick up prescriptions for them so we have to be careful with that.”

The response efforts include increasing supplies and services for low-income families and seniors, finding families affected by reduced work hours, and working with school district superintendents to provide students with meals.

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“None of this fund is going to admin fees, so if you donate $20 [all of it] is going to supplies,” explains Craig. “We have an anonymous donor covering admin fees from a PayPal. 100 per cent of [funds] are going back to the community.”

To counteract panic buying, the Grande Prairie community has already come to the aid of those in need with more than $1,000 raised in less than 24 hours through the Facebook fundraiser. There is a goal to raise $10,000.

Craig, who was born and raised in Grande Prairie, says she isn’t surprised by people coming in droves to help their neighbours.

“From what I can remember, every time something comes along here people jump on it and it’s incredible to see. We have a small-town mindset and love to take care of our own.”

Anyone looking to donate to the response fund can visit United Way’s Facebook page. United Way invites anyone needing help to reach out by email at info@UnitedWayABNW.org.

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