UPDATE: Marietta Community Foundation announces grants to help children

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - UPDATE: 3/23/20 2:20 P.M.

The Marietta Community Foundation has begun a collaborative effort to help Washington County children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's the third phase of the foundation's COVID-19 community plan. The first two phases focused on senior citizens and local food pantries.

“Every phase of our COVID-19 Community Plan has been meticulously thought out,” said Heather Allender, the foundation's president & CEO said.. “We were excited to work with the local Rotary clubs to help support kids throughout the county.”

Last week, the foundation, along with the Marietta Noon Rotary Club, the Marietta Morning Rotary Club and Marietta Rotary Foundation, awarded $12,000 to three local organizations that serve Washington County children.

“As Rotarian's, it is our responsibility to step up and help our community in times of need,” said Shawn Taylor, President of Marietta Noon Rotary Club. “We are fortunate to be apart of an organization that puts service above self and to be able to provide financial support for those who need our assistance. Times like this call for communities to pull together and help others… we will always do our best to support those around us.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, GoPacks, and the Ely Chapman Educational Foundation have received $4,000 each to be used to provide meals and other services to local children.

“As this new normal persists, families already operating on the edge of survival need all the help they can get,” said Rebecca Johnson, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County. “Many of us feel helpless and at a loss of control. By pulling together, giving back, volunteering, we are able to help and bring back that sense of control.”

The fourth phase of the foundation's plan will focus on sustaining these measures until further notice, the foundation said.

“As uncertainty grows the foundation wants to provide stability and consistency,” said Allender.

Anyone who wants to help with the COVID-19 Community Plan or volunteer with a local nonprofit, call 740-373-3286 or email heather@mcfohio.org.


UPDATE: 3/20/20 10 A.M.

The Marietta Community Foundation is providing $10,000 in grant money to support food pantries in Washington County as they deal with community needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding is part of the foundation's COVID-19 Community Plan aimed at making sure Washington County residents have access to resources they need during the crisis.

On Wednesday, the foundation announced Phase 1 the plan - a $12,000 grant aimed at helping the county's senior citizens.

“We want to approach each phase tactfully,” said Heather Allender, the foundation's president & CEO. “In Phase One we wanted to focus our attention on the most vulnerable. Now, in Phase Two, we want to help as many people and households as possible by stocking our local food pantries who are already being overwhelmed by demand.”

In a news release, the foundation said Warren's IGA is supplying the orders at a highly-discounted rate and Washington County Harvest of Hope will use its vehicles to transport food to 13 local pantries.

“IGA stores have the motto that we are Hometown Proud,” said Mike Morrison, Plaza Manager at Warren’s IGA. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to participate in programs that benefit people right here in our own communities who are in need.”

Foundation staff members will be going through the training with Harvest of Hope to make the deliveries themselves. Younger members of the community, who show no symptoms of COVID-19, are being invited to volunteer.

“We are happy to partner, once again, with Marietta Community Foundation and Warren’s IGA to help food pantries at this critical time,” said Susan Allender, executive director of Washington County Harvest of Hope.

Last year, Marietta Community Foundation, Peoples Bank Foundation, Harvest of Hope and Warren’s IGA partnered in a similar venture during the government shutdown, supplying and delivering more than 8,000 pounds of food to local pantries.

“This couldn’t come at a better time," said Sherry Hill, director at Greater Marietta Community Food Pantry. "On any given day, our freezers are normally full, but right now at least one is completely empty. We have been serving three times the amount of clients than we normally do and we see new families each day.”


ORIGINAL STORY: 3/18/20

The Marietta Community Foundation has approved a $12,000 grant to help two local agencies provide transportation and meals for area senior citizens for the next three weeks during the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The foundation was able to approve the emergency grant for the O’Neill Senior Center and Community Action by partnering with a donor and by using $7,000 from its Community Impact Fund.

“As the only community foundation in Washington County, Marietta Community Foundation has created a strategy to make sure each citizen has access to resources they need during COVID-19 concerns,” the foundation said in a news release. “As regulations continue to change and become more stringent, the foundation will continue to adapt their plan as necessary.”

Officials said the plan was created after conducting research and consulting with several organizations that provide “boots on the ground” services throughout Washington County.

According to their research, foundation said two demographics – students and seniors - are affected the most. Because other local groups have focused on helping younger people, the foundation said it is focusing “phase one” of its efforts on helping older residents who are the most vulnerable.

“This is what we do at the foundation,” said Heather Allender, president & CEO of the foundation. “We are proactive, we don’t want to wait around for an opportunity to help, we want to create opportunities to help.”

The O’Neill Senior Center is still providing meals, picking up prescriptions and doing wellness checks, and their employees are being closely monitored for any signs of potential COVID-19 symptoms.

“Operations as we know them have come to a standstill, but what hasn’t stopped is our staff members serving the community,” said Connie Huntsman, executive director at O’Neill Senior Center. “We are finding creative ways to meet the needs of the most vulnerable population and new services are being offered because of generosity of Marietta Community Foundation.”

If you would like to help the foundation with its COVID-19 community plan, please call 740-373-3286 or email heather@mcfohio.org.