Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund grants $250,000 for organizations in southeastern Illinois serving most vulnerable residents

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF) recently announced it has distributed more than $5.5 million to nonprofit organizations across the state, marking the first grants since launching the fund. $250,000 of the first round funds went to 30 organizations in southeastern Illinois providing essential resources to vulnerable residents who have been largely impacted by COVID-19.

The ICRF Fund established by the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor, also announced it has raised more than $30 million from nearly 2000 donors since its launch on March 26. ICRF prioritizes swiftly deploying resources to nonprofits in support of residents in need of: emergency food and basic supplies; interim housing and shelter; primary health care services; utility and financial assistance; and supports for children and other vulnerable populations.

“In this time of such great need, we have been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of people across our state to support the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund,” said Penny Pritzker, chairman of PSP Partners. “Our Fund’s committee members are working very hard to distribute funds quickly and thoughtfully across Illinois in response to this terrible crisis.”

Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation partnered with the United Way of Effingham County, United Way of Coles County and United Way of Crawford County to quickly re-distribute funds to organizations with increased demands for services in Effingham, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Clark, Jasper, Richland, Lawrence, Clay, Shelby and Fayette counties:

  • C.E.F.S Economic Opportunity Corporation
  • Care Horizon, Inc.
  • Catholic Charities of Coles County
  • Centenary United Methodist Church (phone program)
  • Charleston Area Churches Food Pantry
  • City of Flora, Illinois
  • Coalition for People in Need
  • Effingham Catholic Charities
  • Effingham County FISH Human Services
  • Embarras River Basin Agency, Inc.
  • Enduring Freedom Ministries, Inc.
  • Family of YMCA of Fayette County (food drive)
  • First Presbyterian Church of Effingham (food bank)
  • HOPE of East Central Illinois
  • Jasper County Ministerial Association
  • Lawrence County Fish and Loaves
  • Lawrence County Senior Citizens Council, Inc.
  • Mattoon Community Food Center
  • Palestine Community Food Bank
  • Robinson Area Food Pantry
  • Salvation Army (Mattoon)
  • Sign of the Kingdom East 
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul (Mattoon)
  • Standing Stone Community Center
  • Stopping Woman Abuse Now (SWAN)
  • Strategic Training and Restoration (STAR)
  • The Haven
  • The Master’s Hands Inc. of Olney
  • The Master’s Hands, Inc. of Newton
  • Vandalia Association of Church’s Inc. 6:35 Food Pantry

“We are grateful for this funding to help those in need effected by COVID-19,” expresses Kevin Bushur, CEO of C.E.F.S. Economic Opportunity Corporation. “We will be able to provide an additional 4,000 nutritious meals to homebound seniors, rent assistance for 25 families and continue to provide transportation to those in need for medical, food needs, and employment. If you know if anyone needs help, please contact your local C.E.F.S. office.”

Fish and Loaves Founder/President Birgit Volk explains “With school closures in response to COVID-19, Fish and Loaves went from providing weekend meals for 250 students to providing daily breakfast meals along with weekend meals for more than 250 Lawrence county students. This grant helps us fill budget gaps and ensure we can continue to provide for the basic needs of our kids. We’re so grateful for the timely, impactful help in this unprecedented time.”

“ERBA operates Senior Centers in Crawford, Jasper and Richland Counties and with the Governor’s order that restaurants must be closed, that includes our meal sites,” states Cathy Feltner, Executive Director of Embarras River Basin Agency. “That means we are seeing an increased need for home delivered meals and carry-outs at this time and are receiving record numbers of orders. Part of this grant will allow us to provide an additional 2,220 meals that we otherwise would not be providing. We have seven counties where we do not operate food pantries and with this funding we will be able to purchase non-perishable food items and basic personal hygiene items for them. We will also be able to assist households affected by COVID-19 with rent and water/utility bills. It is especially important right now that people are able to stay in their homes and have running water and electricity. ERBA is always here, all year long, to assist those in need, but in times of social and economic crisis, we are even more important to so many people. This funding is an excellent opportunity for us to continue providing the services needed by our most vulnerable populations.”

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