Local COVID-19 response fund already helping community

The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge has had more than $150,000 in donations to their covid-19 local response fund. | Credit: WHSV

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV)— The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge has had more than $150,000 in donations to their COVID-19 local response fund. The donated money is already being distributed into the community.

CEO Dan Layman said they made the first donations to the Salvation Army locations in Waynesboro and Staunton. Layman said housing was a major concern in the area and the organizations have already gone through all of the money set aside for rent assistance.

Layman said making them one of the first grants was an easy decision.

"With the large number of people who are going to be out of work, or being cut back in their wages, the pressure for making rent is going to intensify," Layman said.

The Salvation Army is just one of five grants they've made. Layman said they also gave a grant to the Augusta County Expo to help with their expenses. The expo is the designated disaster site for the county. Layman said the expo gets much of their funding from events, and with those cancelled, they needed funding to cover expenses.

Layman said they also gave grants to non-profit organizations providing mental health care to the community. Layman said the foundation found that to be another major concern in the area. With social distancing concerns, they've had to shift their methods to online.

"We immediately got some support out to them as well, so that they can transition to those platforms, but also offer the low-cost counseling to anyone who needs it," Layman said.

He added all donations to the fund will stay and help people in the community. Tax-deductible contributions to the COVID-19 Local Response Fund may be made online at www.cfcbr.org/COVID-19 and by check made payable to the Community Foundation (P.O. Box 815, Staunton, VA 24402).

Foundation staff are also available to assist with other forms of contributions.