COVID-19 Task Force formed

COVID-19 Task Force formed

Community Foundation of the Hermann Area (CFHA) has assembled a COVID-19 Task Force to address the needs in the community as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Additionally, the Task Force will help local charities apply for grant funding to assist the community with various project needs.  Grant requests from the CFHA and other local charities will be sent to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks which is committing $1 million to support nonprofit agencies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

“The purpose of creating the Task Force is to coordinate the area’s response and provision of services to those in our area affected by disruptions due to the coronavirus outbreak - often our most vulnerable members, who have increased need for services in areas such as food insecurity, childcare, transportation, mental and physical wellbeing, and financial hardships," said Lynette Watts, CFHA administrator.

“We felt it was important to keep the Task Force small to ensure ultimate efficiency” added Watts, who has been tasked to lead the group.

Other members of the Task Force are Bartow Molloy, from the Hermann Community Food Pantry; Dawn Gross, our school-based social worker and board member for the Hermann Food Pantry; Mark Wallace, from the City of Hermann and the Food Pantry Board; Shirley Viola, from the Hermans Area District Hospital; Beth Duckworth, from the Ministerial Alliance; Greg Lara, from the Gasconade County Health Department; and Melissa Lensing, from Hermann Chamber of Commerce.

“CFHA would like to lend its experience in convening and coordinating groups in order to provide our community with quick and effective responses to its needs," Watts said.  "We are also uniquely positioned to bring in possible funding from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks toward relief efforts and to explore other funding options for our area….Our goal is to create a unified approach to the provision of services and identify needs that might attract grant funding.”

The Task Force's first meeting was held Monday, March 23, at the Hermann Chamber office. One of the main focuses was on how to investigate the needs related to the outbreak in the area and compile responses. Additionally, the Task Force discussed what is currently happening round town.

“Over 225 students are being served meals, with drop-off spots in multiple locations across the district," Gross said.  "As of now, we have 90-plus students getting meals out of the elementary school, and the rest are being delivered to the firehouses in Big Spring, Rhineland, Swiss and Berger. Another drop-off stop is Gasconade Park.  We have pick-up times of 10:30-11:30 every day, where they will be served breakfast for the following morning and their lunch for that day,” she added.

Additionally, Viola reported the hospital has set up a COVID-19 screening station.

 “Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 is being provided at the old Medical Arts Building on 6th Street," she said. A doctor’s order is necessary to be tested, and individuals should call (573) 569-5049 to make an appointment."

Viola also mentioned the need for masks at the hospital, and shared that one of the doctors at the hospital had hand-sewn masks for use.

“These masks will be worn on top of our federally-approved masks," she stated. "That way, our medical staff can wear the hospital masks longer and the homemade masks can be washed and reused."

Instructions on how to make masks are available at this website: https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response/?icn=hpzhero&ici=make-to-give-response&fbclid=IwAR14--VerJxhYgDmYwjRgC0I926y6Kd2Kfis50l4kFicaV3MXIsOLA99OXk. The completed masks should be dropped off at the hospital for Viola.

The city of Hermann has organized a relief committee to assist and coordinate the distribution of essential items to address the COVID-19 crisis. That committee’s mission is different from the mission of the task force.

“There is no overlap between the goals of these two committees,” said Mayor Bob Koerber. “Our group will be working with state and federal authorities to get supplies needed in our area.”

The CFHA is also creating a fund specifically to officially address COVID-19 issues and concerns in the Gasconade County R-1 School District. Donation checks can be mailed to: CFHA, P.O. Box 62, Hermann, MO 65041. Checks should be payable to CFHA, with “COVID-19 Fund” written on the memo line.

To check the status of the Task Force and learn more about grant funding that is available to the community, go to the CFHA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CFHermannA/

The Community Foundation of the Hermann Area, Inc., was founded in 2005 as an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Since then, it has granted more than $2 million back to the Hermann community, and held assets of nearly $3 million as of Dec. 31, 2019.

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