Community Foundation of the Hermann Area has assembled a COVID-19 Task Force to address the community's needs during the pandemic.
Additionally, the task force will help local charities apply for grant funding to assist the community. Grants 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, financial hardships and more," said CFHA Administrator Lynette Watts.
“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 are Bartow Molloy of the Hermann Community Food Pantry; Dawn Grosse, school-based social worker and also member of the food pantry board; Hermann City Administrator Mark Wallace, who is also on the food pantry board; Shirley Viola, of Hermann Area District Hospital; Beth Duckworth, of the Ministerial Alliance; Greg Lara, director of the Gasconade County Health Department; and Melissa Lensing, director of the 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 stated. "We are also uniquely positioned to bring in possible funding from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks toward relief efforts (they have freed up $1 million toward nonprofit 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 March 23 at the 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 happening across the city in regard to the pandemic.
“Over 250 students are being served meals with drop-off spots in multiple locations across the district," said Grosse. "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, with another drop-off stop in 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."
"Drive-thru testing for COVID-19 is being provided at the old Medical Arts Building on 6th Street," Viola said. "You will need a doctor’s order to be tested," she noted, adding that appointments can be made by calling (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. That way, our medical staff can wear the hospital masks longer and the homemade masks can be washed and reused," she said.
Instructions for making masks can be found at: www.joann.com The masks should be dropped off at the hospital and delivered to Viola.
Mayor Bob Koerber has announced that he has organized a relief committee to assist and coordinate the distribution of essential items to address the COVID-19 crisis in Hermann. That committee’s mission is different from that of the task force.
“There is no overlap between the goals of these two committees,” Koerber said. “Our group will be working with state and federal authorities to get supplies needed in our area.”
To check status of the task force and learn about other CFHA projects, please see the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CFHermannA/.