March 14, 2020 – New website, careOttawaCounty.com, connects residents with volunteer needs during COVID-19 outbreak
As individuals, we are all taking steps to prevent spread of COVID-19: washing our hands, avoiding close contact with others, and staying home when we are sick. During this time, we also have an impulse to help our neighbors. To make helping easy, Ottawa County community groups have mobilized to create a website: www.careottawacounty.com. Those wishing to assist will be connected to a variety of opportunities to make an impact: volunteering, donating goods or making a financial gift. The hub was developed by a community coalition including the Greater Ottawa County United Way, The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Community Spoke and The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.
There are vulnerable populations in our community who will need ongoing care and support, and as COVID-19 spreads these individuals will face increased barriers in accessing vital services. Nonprofit agencies in Ottawa County have committed to keeping people fed, housed and healthy as best as they can. But these organizations face challenges as they balance their missions with the additional workload of managing the threat of COVID-19.
In addition to the increased need for services, COVID-19 is creating a gap in the volunteer workforce as older citizens, many of whom donate their time, are being advised to remain at home. New volunteers are needed to help fill that gap and avoid any interruptions in service provision.
Those who are not able to volunteer can also consider financial gifts, either directly to the nonprofit of their choice, or through community-wide funds housed at the Community Foundation for Holland/Zeeland, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation or Greater Ottawa County United Way. Financial gifts help local agencies offset the unexpected costs due to COVID-19, including an increased service demand, logistical challenges, and cancellation of fundraising events.