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SAVANNAH, GA (April 14, 2020) – United Way of the Coastal Empire now has an additional $25,000 to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis retain stable housing, put food on the tables, and provide financial assistance, as donors responded to challenge by The Savannah Community Foundation.

On April 8th, The Savannah Community Foundation announced $50,000 in support for the United Way COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. Of that $50,000, $25,000 was in the form of a cash grant and the other $25,000 was in the form of a Challenge Grant where the Community Foundation offered to match dollar for dollar up to $25,000 in contributions made to the United Way specifically in response to this challenge.

In less than a week, the goal was reached. Donations to United Way COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund hit $217,898 and counting. This fund will be used to help families retain stable housing by assisting with rent, mortgage, and utility payments when grace periods are not offered and to provide financial assistance for additional critical needs such as medical expenses and child care.

“Our community has a history of banding together during difficult times,” said outgoing United Way Board Chair Toby Moreau. “We are grateful to have the support of generous donors doing their part to ensure that children and families in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty Counties have access to basic needs while our community continues to take the necessary precautions to keep our neighbors healthy.”

Brynn Grant, President and CEO of United Way of the Coastal Empire, says donations have come at a critical time, as residents are calling the United Way 211 helpline in record numbers. “There is a significant increase in calls for assistance from those who have never needed help before. We are working as fast as we can to connect more people with resources and process applications for assistance through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund; but the needs keep growing.”

Through the 211 call center and community service centers in Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty Counties, United Way is connecting citizens with resources that can help them through struggles related to COVID-19. Last week, the organization received nearly 5,000 calls – four times the amount of calls from the prior week. United Way expanded the 211 hours, cross-trained its staff, and trained nearly 20 volunteers from United Way funded agencies to help process requests for assistance.

To date, United Way has raised $217,898 for the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. You too can help by giving to United Way. 100% of contributions made to the Rapid Response Fund will be used to meet the fast-emerging critical needs from this crisis in our community. To give, visit uwce.org or text UWCOVID19 to 41444.

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