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.

The United Way office is open and following mask guidelines. To get in touch, call 218-999-7570 or email info@uwlakes.org.

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

Advocates for Family Peace: (As of 11/1/20) advocates are available 24/7 by calling 218-326-0388 or texting 218-259-3407. The administrative offices are open. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Bigfork Food Shelf: (As of 11/1/20) 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 11/1/20) Bigfork Valley has implemented a universal masking policy and is limiting visits to 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 Clubs: (As of 11/18/20) the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids is open, as well as Deer River, which is serving a limited number of members. The Greenway Club is closed until further notice due to a COVID-19 exposure. The Grand Rapids & Greenway club is also providing virtual programming. The Deer River Boys & Girls Club is serving the children of essential workers. Follow their Facebook pages for updates: Grand Rapids & Greenway  |   Deer River

ElderCircle: (As of 11/1/20) ElderCircle is providing grocery and prescription delivery as well as limited programming and virtual outreach. Staff are working remotely and can be reached by phone. Learn more

Grace House: (As of 11/1/20) the Grace House facility is 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. Residents have been re-housed to a hotel to allow for physical distancing. Learn more

Habitat for Humanity: (As of 11/1/20) Habitat is only engaging volunteers who are able to work outdoors. Upcoming projects have been pushed to 2021. In the meantime, applications for the New Home and Home Preservation programs are being accepted. Learn more

Kiesler Wellness Center: (As of 11/1/20) Kiesler Wellness Center is open at a limited capacity and has implemented entry screening protocols. Call 218-326-5114 to learn more, or check out their Facebook page.

KOOTASCA: (As of 11/1/20) KOOTASCA is serving clients. Anyone seeking housing or energy assistance or should call ahead or connect remotely. Learn more

Project Care: (As of 11/1/20) In-person Project Care Free Clinics are CLOSED until further notice, but clients can make appointments for telehealth appointments 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 11/1/20) Project READ is working to distribute books through Little Free Libraries in the community.

Support Within Reach: (As of 11/1/20) 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. Learn more

Wellness Court: (As of 11/1/20) Wellness Court has been holding Zoom hearings for its participants. Learn more

YMCA: (As of 11/1/20) the Itasca County Family YMCA has implemented Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which includes limiting guests and increased safety protocols. The Active Living Center is open during limited hours and with limited capacity. Call the child care office at 218-327-2418 for up-to-date information on childcare programs. Learn more

Youth for Christ: (As of 11/1/20) Campus Life meetings are happening in-person in three school districts with health and safety guidelines in place. Additional virtual programming is also being implemented. Learn more

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

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.

Housing Assistance: Minnesota’s COVID-19 Housing Assistance program provides assistance payments to low-income families and individuals to help cover rent, mortgage, and utility payments. To get started, call 211 or text MNRENT or MNHOME to 898-211. Learn more

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

Little Free 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 pantry you’d like to share? Let us know by emailing info@uwlakes.org.

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

Open Door Coat Rack: Children and youth up to age 18 can receive outdoor winter apparel at no cost. Items must be ordered in advance, by September 30th, and will be distributed via curbside pickup October 12th – 15th. Order

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.

Local School District information, including Childcare Services: 

Grand Rapids Schools 
Deer River Schools 
Greenway Schools 

Emergency Child Care Grant Programs: The Northland Foundation is distributing funding for emergency wrap-around early care and education for children eight and under from underserved populations. Grant applications for the program’s first funding cycle are due on September 25th. Learn more

Computers: Students from low-income families can get a free Chromebook for distance learning through Minnesota Afterschool Advance.

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.

School Supplies: Students in need of school supplies can receive a backpack full of grade-appropriate supplies provided by United Way’s Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. Request

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, or browse opportunities on Bonfire.

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

Pop-Up Pantry: Second Harvest’s traveling food shelf delivers nutritious food with drive-thru pickup in various locations throughout the community. The Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency hosts food giveaways in the area.

Bena: Nov. 25th | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Bena Community Center, 15032 Old Housing Dr. NE

Deer River: Nov. 25th | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Deer River King School (Front Parking Lot), 500 SE 5th St.

Nov 25th | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. | Ball Club Center, 30995 Arctic Rd.

Nov. 25th | 3:00 p.m. | Cenex Office Parking Lot

Hill City: Dec. 7th | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Main Street

Thanksgiving Dinner: The Centennial Rotary club is hosting free Thanksgiving dinner delivery and drive-through. Register by November 24th by calling the YMCA at 218-327-1161 or email membership@ymcaitasca.org. Orders should specify delivery or pick-up and state the names of those receiving meals. Learn more

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

At-Home Testing: Itasca County is one of several Minnesota counties offering at-home COVID-19 tests to residents. Tests are sent through the mail, and include a prepaid return package and a virtual visit with a provider. Order a test

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

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.

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