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Now more than ever, we must Live United

As the COVID-19 pandemic creates hardships, confusion, and uncertainty in the Rock River Valley — some simple ways to support our community and Live United.

It's been a common idea on one big wasy the coronavirus has impacted our lives: it has created a feeling of a lack of control. That's been the explanation for why many people feel compelled to head to the grocery store and stock up on food and supplies; doing so creates a sense of control. But activities like that are not in the interest of the greater good. To empty the shelves at the local grocery store out of fear and uncertainty puts others as risk, particularly those who need those supplies to survive right now.

That's where this article comes in. We thought it would be useful to compile some ideas that can return that sense of control to your life, but that also help the greater good.

Volunteer

On the frontline of the fight for our community are thousands of volunteers who bring Live United to life by giving selflessly of their time and talents to create lasting solutions and improve the quality of life for all of us who call the Rock River Valley home.

As we practice social distancing, volunteer opportunites still do exist. Whether that's cleaning up your neighborhood or signing up to be an I READ volunteer so that when schools reopen young children have caring adults to share a love of reading with them; there is nothing stopping you from contributing your most valuable resource: your time. To make things easier, we have created a website that specifically links your interests to related volunteer opportunities in our area. Go to wevolunteer.org to see what suits you best.

Donate

United Way of Rock River Valley has established a COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund for Winnebago and Ogle Counties. This fund will support the needs of residents and their children to help alleviate hardships they may be experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds will be distributed through local social service agencies that have expertise in serving individuals and families and provide support for needs such as rent, utility and employment assistance, child care and food. A United Way Emerging Needs Committee will guide the distribution of funds, and will take into account immediate and future needs. Social Service agencies receiving the funds must be 501c3 and expenditures will be reviewed and monitored.

Make an online donation by clicking here.

Donate blood

The Rock River Valley Blood Center is asking the public to donate blood if they are healthy. They are currently at a "dire need for blood donations" due to the rapidly developing pandemic. They say nationally that the blood industry has seen more than 12,000 blood drives cancelled, resulting in an estimated 355,000 fewer blood donations.

Prospective donors are being asked to schedule an appointment to donate to help minimize crowds at their facilities. You are also encouraged to schedule a donation in the coming days or weeks as the ongoing crisis requries  blood banks to maintain a constant local blood supply.

The RRVBC has launched a program that speeds up the donation process to reduce time spent at their donor centers. Learn more here.

Fill out the census

Participating in the census is required by law. So while you're stuck at home, why not fulfill the obligation? A complete and accurate census count is critical for our community as it will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

If you haven't filled out your census by May or June, census takers will begin visiting homes in our area who haven't submitted their census to make sure everyone is counted.

Don't worry, you don't have to leave your house to complete the census. Just click here and get started online.

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