ITASCA AREA COMMUNITY RESPONSE FUND


The pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, as well as other challenges. Funds raised will help aid agencies providing local COVID-19 relief services, including access to food, health-related services, support learning, and child care services, to name a few.

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COVID-19 Information and Resources

What we are doing
As an organization dedicated to the well-being of our community, we are closely watching the developments surrounding COVID-19 and how individuals and families throughout our community will be impacted.

United Way is actively engaged in conversations across our region to learn how we can be best support COVID-19 efforts and serve the ever-changing needs of our community.

Like many workplaces, United Way staff are working remotely during this time of physical distancing. They can be contacted by emailing info@uwlakes.org.

Board and committee meetings are being held virtually, using video platforms or telephone conferences.

Advocates for Family Peace: (As of 7/1/20) advocates are available 24/7 by calling 218-326-0388 or texting 218-259-3407. The administrative offices are open and visitors are encouraged to wear masks. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Baby Steps:  (As of 7/1/20) Baby Steps closed permanently on June 11, 2020. Learn more

Bigfork Food Shelf: (As of 7/1/20) the Bigfork Food Shelf is open during regular hours (Thurs. 12:30-3). Pre-packed boxes of food are delivered to clients’ cars.

Bigfork Valley Senior Services: (As of 7/1/20) Bigfork Valley has implemented a universal masking policy and is restricting non-essential visitors from visiting their senior population, encouraging friends and family members to use virtual methods to stay in touch. Call 218-743-4144 to set up a virtual visit. Additionally, the Bigfork Valley Community Foundation has created funds to help the hospital and its community. Learn more

Boys & Girls Club: (As of 7/1/20) the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids and Greenway and Deer River are CLOSED until further notice. Grand Rapids & Greenway members are being served through virtual programming as well as evening meal assistance. The Deer River Boys & Girls Club is providing childcare to the children of essential workers over the summer. Follow their Facebook pages for updates: Grand Rapids & Greenway  |   Deer River

ElderCircle: (As of 7/1/20) ElderCircle is providing grocery and prescription delivery and virtual programming and outreach, as well as distributing masks to the community. Staff are working remotely and can be reached by phone. Learn more

Grace House: (As of 7/1/20) The Grace House building will be CLOSED until further notice, but is still providing services and meals. Families and individuals looking for help can dial 211 to begin the coordinated entry process. Current residents have been re-housed to a hotel, which is better-equipped for physical distancing. Learn more

Habitat for Humanity: (As of 7/1/20) the ReStore is open during limited hours and is doing donation pickups. Building projects have resumed with a safety plan in place to protect volunteers. Learn more

Kiesler Wellness Center: (As of 7/1/20) Kiesler Wellness Center is open by appointment. Call 218-326-5114 to learn more, or check out their Facebook page.

Project Care: (As of 7/1/20) Project Care Free Clinics are CLOSED until further notice, but clients can make appointments for telephone consultations on Tuesday evenings. Clients should contact Project Care by 2 p.m. on the day before the clinic to pre-register. Learn more

Project READ: (As of 7/1/20) Project READ is working with IASC Community Education and the Arrowhead Library System to coordinate efforts to safely distribute books to children.

Support Within Reach: (As of 7/1/20) Support Within Reach’s offices are open. Physical distancing and cleaning protocols have been implemented. The crisis line (1-866-747-5008) is still open 24/7. Anyone experiencing crisis or who would like to speak with an advocate is encouraged to call the crisis line. Support Within Reach is also offering virtual support groups and sexual violence training. Learn more

YMCA: (As of 7/1/20) the Itasca County Family YMCA has implemented Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which includes limiting guests and increased safety protocols. The Active Living Center is closed. Learn more

Local School District information, including Childcare Services: 

Grand Rapids Schools 
Deer River Schools 
Greenway Schools 

Emergency Child Care Grant Programs: Childcare Aware of MN has a Peacetime Emergency Child Care grant program for licensed childcare providers caring for the children of essential workers. Grant applications for the program’s third funding cycle are due on June 10th. Learn more

Digital Learning:

ISD 318 & 319 have a list of resources for students and parents.

ISD 318 Community Education’s YouTube channel features videos and activities for learners of all ages.

United Way’s Learning at Home blog post has a list of digital learning resources and activities for different ages and interests.

Computers: Students from low-income families can get a Chromebook for 75% off through Minnesota Afterschool Advance.

Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteering is a great way to occupy kids who are home from school. Have a look at our list of virtual and at-home volunteer activities for ideas.

211 Information and Referral (First Call for Help / United Way 211):  If you or someone you know is in need, dial 2-1-1 or text the letters MNCOVID to 898-211. They also are available to provide local resources related to accessing food, paying housing bills, and other essential services. Learn more

My Free Taxes: Through United Way’s partnership with H&R Block, every household with a simple return can file their federal and state taxes for free. Learn more

Birthday Wishes for Kids: The Grand Rapids Fire Department and Grand Rapids Police Department are providing curbside and virtual birthday wishes for children up to 12 years old. Call 218-326-7639 to make arrangements.

Legal Advice: Those who qualify can call 800-933-1112 for Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota’s legal advice hotline. Learn more

Pop-up Pantries: Local volunteers are converting Little Free Libraries into pantries with food and basic necessities. Families and individuals in need can pick up items, no questions asked. One pantry is located outside the Itasca County Historical Society (201 N Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids).

Know of another Pop-up Pantry you’d like to share? Let us know by emailing info@uwlakes.org.

Safety: People experiencing domestic violence can find 24/7 crisis assistance from Advocates for Family Peace by calling 218-326-0388 or texting 218-259-3407.

People experiencing sexual violence can find support 24/7 by calling Support Within Reach‘s crisis line at 1-866-747-5008.

Transportation: Workers can receive transportation services and assistance through Rural Rides. To learn more, contact Itasca County Transportation Advocate Diane Gilmore at 218-327-6757 or diane.gilmore@aeoa.org.

The Cap Baker Lions Club’s Pedals for Purpose program refurbishes bikes and gives them away, along with a helmet and lock, to those who might not otherwise be able to afford one. They work through social services organizations to match individuals and families who are in need. Email info@uwlakes.org if you or someone you know is in need of a bicycle.

Delivery of Essentials: Contact ElderCircle at 218-999-9233 to arrange for no-contact grocery and prescription deliveries.

Mutual Aid: Homecare workers, PCAs, and clients needing assistance with meeting needs or accessing services can submit their needs to this mutual aid form.

Senior LinkAge Line: Call 1-800-333-2433 for no-cost assistance with a wide range of programs and services for older adults and their families.

More Resources: Visit HelpOlderAdultsMN.org or First Call 211 to learn more about resources available to older adults.

COVID-19: If you think you may be infected with the coronavirus, GoodsRx offers free online screening to help you evaluate your symptoms and determine whether you need to get tested. Get screened

If you need a COVID-19 test, make sure to make an appointment in advance and follow protocol. Find a testing site

Masks: ElderCircle is distributing donated fabric masks throughout the community. To request, email ecircle@eldercircle.org or call 218-999-9233 ext. 277 and leave a voicemail. Learn more

Prescription Medication: FamilyWize and GoodsRx offer free discount cards for prescription medications. Sign up online, or call FamilyWize at 800-222-2818.

Mental Health

Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5900 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a counselor and find help dealing with stress related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Suicide Prevention: If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, call 211 or the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-8255. Both lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Stable Embrace: Stable Embrace is a collaboration between First Call 211 and Itasca County to share ideas and resources to help Northern Minnesota residents care for their physical and mental health needs, stay connected with others, and build community. Learn more

Information & Updates

Itasca County Public Health: Itasca County continues to closely monitor the situation and review information as it comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). They are also maintaining close communications with cities/townships, school districts, and community service providers. Itasca County Health and Human Services offers a COVID-19 information phone line that can be reached at 218-327-6784. Learn more

Minnesota Department of Health: The MDH website provides guidance, including best practices for schools, health care facilities, working spaces, and more. Learn more

Itasca Area Economic Development Corporation (IEDC): IEDC has compiled a list of resources for residents, as well as opportunities for assistance for business owners.  Learn more

Minnesota Department of Revenue: In line with the state’s continued response to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Revenue is granting a 30-day Sales and Use Tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04. During this time, the department will not assess penalties or interest. Learn more

Minnesota Employment and Economic Development (DEED): The COVID-19 pandemic creates many new challenges for businesses, workers, and government. DEED is working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Walz-Flanagan Administration, and the Minnesota Legislature to take proactive steps to ensure the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic do not cause unnecessary burdens on employers and workers in Minnesota. Learn more

Minnesota Unemployment Benefits: If you are unable to work, have had hours reduced, or have lost your job as a result of this pandemic, you can apply for unemployment benefits. More information

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance: On March 16, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits. Learn more

Community Cafe: Take-out meals are served free-of-charge to anyone, regardless of income.

Grand Rapids: Tuesday – Thursday | 4:30 – 6 p.m. | Kiesler Wellness Center

Deer River: Monday – Thursday | 4:30 – 6 p.m. | King Elementary School

Food Distribution: AEOA and KOOTASCA distribute meals in various locations throughout the summer. Upcoming distribution events include:

Frozen Food: Coleraine | July 22nd | 3:00 p.m. | Greenway Schools District Parking Lot  Learn more

Meals for Students: Beginning June 2nd, students can pick up free to-go breakfasts and lunches 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, at Robert J. Elkington Middle School and Southwest Elementary. Bigfork School will host meal pickup on Mondays and Wednesdays, and children will be able to receive meals for multiple days. Meals are available to all children under the age of 18 regardless of ability to pay. Learn more

Beginning June 1st, ISD 316 will host meal pickup for children 18 and under, regardless of ability to pay. Meal pickup is available Monday through Thursday, at Marble 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and at Greenway High School 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Meals are also available for adults with disabilities who participate in school programs. Learn more

ISD 317 (Deer River)’s Summer Food Program hosts breakfast and lunch pickup at King Elementary 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as at seven different community sites from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, where students can pick up meals for two days. Learn more

United Way’s Summer Meal Meet-Ups program hosts meal pickup at Cohasset Community Center 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and at Hill City Assembly of God Church 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Learn more

Pandemic-EBT: Minnesota families whose children receive free and reduced-price school meals are likely eligible for a P-EBT, a food benefit to make up for lost meals during school closures. Apply by July 31st. Learn more

Pop-Up Pantry: Second Harvest will be distributing food boxes to families in various locations throughout July and August:

Deer River: August 12th | 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Deer River King School

Grand Rapids: August 13th | 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Second Harvest Parking Lot

August 20th | 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Second Harvest Parking Lot

Find Help

2-1-1 is a valuable resource, with information about local food programs, paying housing bills, and other essential services. If you or someone you know is in need, dial 211 or text the letters MNCOVID to 898-211.

GET HELP: SEARCH 2-1-1 DATABASE