Black Belt Community Foundation launches COVID-19 Response Fund

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

The Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) has sprung into action to help as many regional organizations and communities as possible amidst the COVID-19 pandemic by creating a “COVID-19 Response Fund.”
In order to be effective, the foundation has adopted a staff-wide effort to conduct daily pandemic assessments of the impact of COVID-19 on the Black Belt region. Information being collected from the 12 counties it serves is creating a picture of how communities are being impacted. BBCF’s goal is to identify partner organizations that may need assistance in critical outreach.
”It’s early on right now, but I can tell you that COVID-19 has affected all of our operations across the board. Whether it is our Head Start program, community granting or the launch phase for the 2020 Census outreach, we have had to rapidly, re-configure working patterns. At this phase, we are working hard to reach out to our local partners, community associates, grantees, Head Start families and community leadership to make assessments of where help is needed the most. The information and resource sharing that is now happening is extremely useful and also inspiring to see how many people are proactively jumping into action. There are helpers out there everywhere, and we are trying to connect with them for a broader, more coordinated effort wherever possible,” said President Felicia Lucky.
How to Help
Presently there are two main ways to help. If you are an organization or someone that is actively working in the community looking to join forces for greater outreach, BBCF wants to hear from you. Contact BBCF directly by e-mailing info@blackbeltfound.org. Individual donors can immediately contribute to the COVID-19 Relief Fund by visiting the BBCF website at http://www.blackbeltfound.org.
“We are hoping for the best, but it may not be long before people start noticing that their neighbors need help. This is something affecting us all, and it looks like it is going to be expensive. As we narrow the lens on where the need is going to be the most, like people that are displaced, out of work or families just trying to keep food on the table, we will be able to properly target the funds,” Lucky added. “So many examples of stepping up are happening all around me that give us a lot of hope here. Just look at our Head Start centers. Of course they are not able to hold classes in this environment, but our team of staff and teachers there have been immediately jumping into action to survey the hundreds of families of the students from the Black Belt to figure out how the home is affected now, what is going on with childcare, and will there be food on the table. We are assessing needs as quickly as possible, but we want to find the helpers out there who are doing the same and in need of help themselves.”
During the last 16 years, the foundation has worked tirelessly to help Alabama’s most challenged region realize its potential. BBCF has awarded more than $5 million in grants to support more than 450 community-led initiatives across BBCF’s 12-county service area in the Black Belt. BBCF was established in 2004 to support local efforts that contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all of the region’s people and communities.
For more information, like and follow their social media page or visit their website. The organization is headquartered at 609 Lauderdale St. in Selma.

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