With local businesses temporarily shuttering or revising services because of coronavirus, many more individuals than usual are out of work and struggling to cover expenses.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was established by the United Way and the Golden Crescent Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD), will begin to help individuals in our community who are experiencing needs with rent, utility, and bill assistance as early as this week, according to a news release.

“We have thousands in our community that need immediate assistance with utilities and rent,” said Pastor Glen Dry, chairman of the Golden Crescent COAD.

The assistance was made possible by the United Way’s board designating $25,000 and Frost Bank’s generous donation of $10,000, as well as donations from individuals in the community. The funding will be rolled out in three phases to ensure the resources make it to the right areas, including individuals and nonprofits, at the right time, said Brooke Garcia, executive director of the Victoria County United Way.

“But we need to keep dollars flowing into the fund,” Garcia said. “We need local foundations and businesses, as wells as individuals, to help us build the fund so that we can continue to help our communities through each of the planned phases.”

The Golden Crescent COAD is a regional group providing a permanent forum for community organizations to develop and strengthen preparedness, response and recovery activities, according to its website.

Currently, the group is navigating the uncharted territory of the coronavirus pandemic. Dry said the organization is tasked with various initiatives by city and county officials, and the relationship is mutually beneficial. All of the COAD agencies share information via conference call every Thursday to coordinate resources and help deal with the crisis.

The network of organizations includes the Victoria County United Way, the Victoria County Long-Term Recovery Group, American Red Cross, FEMA, Salvation Army, Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission and the Victoria City/County Office of Emergency Management, among many others.

The Victoria Advocate encourages individuals, businesses and foundations in positions to help to do so. Donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund and help your neighbors through this crisis.

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This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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