Romer: How you can help in this global pandemic
It is hard to keep up with COVID-19 news, executive orders, public health and economic impacts. Things change moment by moment. At Vail Valley Partnership we are responding with a relentless determination to help our communities, businesses and economies rise above the current COVID-19-created circumstance and to thrive once more.
I urge everyone to continue to comply with the guidance of our state and local health departments, to make wise and practical decisions and to stay safe. This includes avoiding crowds and nonessential activities at all costs and staying home as much as possible. We can take local action while we wait for federal relief efforts.
We’re all in it together; and while non-COVID-19 news is hard to come by, census day is coming. The 2020 Census is as important as ever, as $2,300 per person is allocated to Eagle County annually to support schools, libraries, road improvements, veterans services, senior centers, and more. Census data is also used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is especially important to Colorado because the state has a chance to pick up an additional seat.
Programs where funding is allocated include: senior services (Medicare), public libraries, health services (Medicaid), road improvements, public housing (Section 8), community colleges, tuition assistance programs, school lunch, and Title 1 Grants for education. These programs are important to our community as we move forward in a post-COVID-19 world.
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Plus, it’s easy — 10 minutes, 10 questions. Complete your census at https://my2020census.gov/. You don’t need to wait to receive the information at your door; you can complete this now using your physical address.
Locally, the Community Market (operated by the Eagle Valley Community Foundation) serves the people of county through a warehouse and market in Gypsum, six popup markets in vulnerable neighborhoods, and partner distribution relationships with the Magic Bus, the Salvation Army (which is providing food to about 100 people per week), and several church pantries or other community programs.
Financially vulnerable residents of the Eagle Valley are and will be negatively and dramatically impacted by COVID-19. Obvious areas of impact include lost income due to unemployment; lost access to student meals due to closed schools; and potentially serious illnesses.
These challenges and others will combine to cause increased hunger among our neighbors in the valley. The magnitude and extent of these developments are unknowable, but we expect client demand for The Community Market may increase to 300% of the current service level, and last throughout 2020. Contributions can be made via credit card at http://www.Eaglevalleycf.org or checks can be mailed to EVCF at PO Box 1580, Vail, CO 81658.
The Community Market is not the only community resource that needs support. The COVID-19 situation is very fluid and public agency and nonprofit community responses are changing daily. We have a wide network of nonprofit and governmental services available to get us through the next challenging couple of months.
The following is a short, noncomprehensive list of how to contribute:
- The Community Market: http://www.EagleValleyCF.org
- The Salvation Army: http://www.salvationarmyvail.org
- United Way of the Eagle River Valley: http://www.unitedwayeagle.org
- Catholic Charities: https://ccdenver.org/western-slope-services
Contributions to your favorite nonprofit organization during this time will directly impact our community and these groups need resources to impact our most vulnerable populations.
Individuals and businesses can get the most current information at:
- Eagle County Public Safety: http://www.ecemergency.org
- Unemployment: http://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/file-claim
- CO HELP Hotline: 1-877-462-2911
- Business tools & resources: http://www.COVID19BusinessResources.com
- Eagle County public health: ecemergency.org
- State information: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/information-and-resources-coronavirus
Stay safe and please support our local community efforts during this time.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.
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