United Way gets $16.5M for COVID-19 relief: Here's how you can get help

Gleaners is preparing food donations to deliver to those in need during the coronavirus outbreak. (WTHR photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The United Way and its partners are getting a whopping $16.5 million for the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. It's much needed help for families without a bunch of red tape.

United Way partners like Gleaners Food Bank are already seeing the impact from COVID-19 restrictions. That includes the drive-thru food giveaway they've set up to help people.

Now, United Way partners can help even more thanks to Friday's multi-million-dollar donation.

"The funds that will be available through this relief fund will be available to community-based organizations that will be serving individuals in the community," said United Way of Central Indiana CEO Ann Murtlow.

Those in the community in need can be accessed by calling 211 or contacting social service agencies.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called the COVID-19 fund unprecedented as he works with state health officials to lessen the impact. The financial help couldn't come at a better time since Dr. Virginia Caine suspects we have not seen the worst of the coronavirus.

Caine attended the news conference where the announcement was made about the donation. She believes once testing becomes more readily available, Indiana may uncover more cases of COVID-19. But she stressed that Indiana is blessed to have great community partners who have come to the rescue of those impacted by the virus fallout.

“I don't know of any other community in this country that could match what we have here," Caine said.

$15 million of the COVID-19 relief money is from the Lilly Foundation, which insisted on easy access for people needing help.

Ronni Kloth, vice president with the Lilly Endowment Inc., told Eyewitness News despite help possibly on the way from federal programs, they wanted help to people right away. Especially since organizations like Gleaners are packed every day.

“They may see an increase for their services...and we need to help them meet that need today even while we wait for other sources of aid," Kloth said.

Families needing help can call 211 or contact social service agencies.