The pandemic changed our 211 and Volunteer Center services here at United Way ENM, as well. On March 13th we began working remotely and meeting our clients' needs in an accelerated way. When the first lockdown happened the Food Bank became our #1 organization needing volunteers. It was gratifying to see how VolunteerENM.org came through in the pinch to keep people engaged and serving others. Casey Peacock, our Volunteer Center Coordinator, worked closely with FBENM to find groups and individuals to put in the 40-60 volunteer hours needed per day Monday-Thursday to get food to over 150 families each day.
Our 211 services kicked into gear immediately as call volume rose. Then we were blessed with over $100,000 in COVID19 grants and gifts (coming in over the weeks and months) allowing us to ramp up our assistance in rent and utilities for families. Since April 17th we have provided financial assistance to 458 families at double the usually available dollar amount. Helping families who had lost income due to cut hours, cancelled contracts, illness, quarantine, business closure, and the challenges of online schooling.
UWENM also gave "mini-grants" and gifts of masks, sanitizer, toilet paper, PPE, etc. to local non-profits and food pantries to help them adapt their operations and meet the increased need of our community members. Virginia McReynolds our veteran 211 Specialist and Iris Corona our new Bi-Lingual Specialist gave each caller their compassionate attention and all the help available. Helping families weather this storm with hope and encouragement.
All of this was a bit above the call of duty and a bit "that's our job." It is a proud moment to see the impact of our services in the lives of our neighbors. 2021 is around the corner and new challenges surely await. Please consider a year-end gift to United Way of Eastern New Mexico so that we can continue our high rate of response to community needs.