The Garrett County Joint Information Center is directing all questions and local offers of donations related to COVID-19 to Garrett County Community Action. The non-profit has been appointed to manage all local contributions related to COVID-19 such as homemade face coverings, food assistance, volunteer sign-ups, and cash donations.
A volunteer portal has been designed by the Health Department to aid Community Action with critical digital infrastructure and work as the “top of a funnel.” The portal collects contact information via short forms and shares the offer with a designated volunteer coordinator who will respond to volunteers individually.
“We launched a survey at the end of March to gauge community needs, especially related to food insecurity, unemployment, and other vulnerabilities as well as how people are helping others,” said Shelley Argabrite, Chief Health Strategist for the Population Health, Innovation & Informatics Unit at the Health Department.
“In less than 24 hours we received over 1,000 responses. From the survey data, we built the volunteer portal to address the main concerns. We listened to your feedback and are responding with a streamlined way to organize volunteers.”
Interested persons can reach the volunteer portal at www.garretthealth.org/community and choose from a variety of ways to assist the community. Visit the portal frequently to check for updates.
For those who are not online, any offer of support can be initiated by contacting Courtni Helmick, Family Self-Sufficiency Manager at Community Action, by calling 301-334-9431 ext. 6143. Cash donations are encouraged by the county COVID-19 response team and will be graciously accepted.
“The outpouring of support from our community has been truly inspiring,” said Helmick. “Times are certainly a little scary because there is so much unknown, but that has not stopped Garrett County! The portal is a wonderful tool to get the entire community involved and this pandemic has allowed community partners the opportunity to collaborate and create new ideas to best serve our community.”
Community Action is working closely with fire and rescue locations around the county to be convenient drop off sites for food and cleaning supplies. Please check the Portal for contact information, a list of requested food donations, and future donation specifics.
The first two dates per donation sites are listed below:
- Friendsville Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Saturday, April 25th & May 2nd, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Bloomington Volunteer Fire Department, Friday, April 24th & May 1st, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Accident Volunteer Fire Department, Wednesday, April 29th & May 6th, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Southern Rescue Squad, Thursday, April 30th, and Saturday, May 2nd, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
- Eastern Garrett Volunteer Fire Department, Tuesday, April 28th & May 5th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Food giveaways are being coordinated by Community Action.
“We deeply appreciate all those who are able and willing to give during this time to those who are struggling to feed their families,” Argabrite said. “Agencies are working together to ensure no one goes hungry. A second COVID-19 survey is available here at bit.ly/surveynumbertwo. Your input drives change and helps us understand the needs of this community. Please consider taking this important survey.”
In addition, a food drive is being planned in the near future by Mountain Laurel Medical Center in conjunction with the Maryland Food Bank. Details will be announced as soon as they are available.