FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The Central Valley Community Foundation is committing $500,000 to COVID-19 pandemic relief and $65,000 of that will go to the 211 helpline – a non-emergency line that gives residents answers to questions they may from getting access to food to seeking to help to pay utility bills.

“We’re also getting a lot of calls from folks who are in a situation that they’ve run out of money,” said Lindsay Callahan, the president and CEO of United Way Fresno & Madera Counties.

Since the novel Coronavirus hit California, many have lost their jobs and are struggling to get by. That’s why United Way Fresno & Madera Counties is increasing its capabilities.

The 211 line helps connect residents with resources in the Central Valley that have to do with things like:

  • Rent payment assistance
  • Food pantries
  • Assistance with utility bills
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health counseling

“This money is really helping us, not only get the word out so more people know that 211 is a resource, but also helping us keep the information as updated as possible so that people have what they need,” Callahan said.

Some of the rest of the $500,000 will go toward things like food distribution and equipment for healthcare workers.

“Clearly we need food distribution, folks who are used to getting access to food at either school or community centers, those supports are going away, so the community needs to respond and be able to get food to the most vulnerable populations,” said Ashley Swearengin, the CEO of the Central Community Foundation.

Callahan said her organization is prepared for what lies ahead.

“The last couple of weeks has been a lit of work to get prepared and we know that now we are ready, and we’re ready for what comes next,” she said.

COVID-19 resource links: