Relief fund continues to support nonprofits, residents

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BROOKINGS – The Brookings COVID-19 Relief Fund, a collaborative effort through the Brookings Foundation and the Brookings Area United Way, continues to support providing basic needs services to local nonprofit organizations and area residents who are immediately suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Grants have been allocated on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the cycle of this outbreak and the recovery phases making it possible to move resources quickly and to be able to adjust to the evolving needs going forward.

More than $109,735 has been granted out of the COVID-19 Relief Fund to local organizations, a Nov. 6 press release says, including the Brookings Boys & Girls Club, My Neighbor, Family Back2School Program, Brookings Arts Council, Brookings Regional Humane Society, Lutheran Social Services, Brookings County Child Protection Team, Brookings Backpack Project, and the Salvation Army to assist local residents.

“Our community has seen a large increase in needs. With the Helpline Center data, we have seen an increase of 233% in calls regarding food assistance, a 93.5% increase in calls for rent and mortgage relief, and a 36% increase in calls for mental health aid. This data is comparing January through August of 2019 to 2020,” said Heidi Gullickson, executive director of Brookings Area United Way.

Donations can be made on both organizations’ websites, brookingsfoundation.org and brookingsunitedway.org, or by mailing a donation to Brookings COVID-19 Relief Fund, First Bank & Trust Attn: Jeff Lee, P.O. Box 505, Brookings, SD 57006. This fund is also participating in South Dakota Day of Giving on Dec 1. More information regarding Covid-19 changes to nonprofit services, how to request help, and how to volunteer can be found at brookingsunitedway.org/covid-19.     

The Brookings Foundation and Brookings Area United Way will administer grants from the fund in phases, initially to help address immediate needs and then through the short-term and longer-term impact of the pandemic outbreak and recovery. Grants will be recommended by a joint advisory committee including representatives of the Brookings Foundation and the Brookings Area United Way board of directors.

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