City, groups come together to offset losses due to virus

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The city and area social service agencies are joining together to help residents cope with losses associated with closings and cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, another group is starting a service to link people in need with people who can provide the necessary services.

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“Our citizens are reaching out and helping their neighbors, as we all adjust to the many changes this virus is bringing into our lives,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said during a Friday afternoon press conference announcing the initiatives.

The city is calling the effort “Neighbor Helping Neighbor.”

Citing the cancellation of the Sweet 16 tournaments and March Madness and the ripple effect on businesses, Gorton said steps can be taken to help mitigate some of the damage.

“First, we’re working with the United Way and Blue Grass Community Foundation to establish a Coronavirus Response Fund,” Gorton said. “The virus has economic consequences for many people. This is a way for everyone to help their neighbors.”

Philanthropic agencies, government, and business leaders have gotten together to create the fund. It will provide one-time grants to fund established social service organizations in Central Kentucky that can provide residents with access to food, prescriptions/healthcare, child care, and other basic needs.

Giving is easy. Just go to https://bgcf.givingfuel.com/coronavirus.

Citizens can also donate by text at 859-208-2850 or by check.

Donate by check: Make checks out to Blue Grass Community Foundation and indicate that your gift should be directed to the Coronavirus Response Fund. Mail checks to: Blue Grass Community Foundation, Attn: Coronavirus Response Fund, 499 E. High Street #112, Lexington, KY 40507.

“The fund is designed to expand our capacity to support individuals and families experiencing hardship as a result of the virus, and related closures and disruptions,” Gorton said, noting the effort will complement the work of local public health, non-profit and government agencies.

In another step to help people whose budget may be tight because of coronavirus, Gorton said the city is joining Kentucky American Water Company in suspending water shut-offs to homes.

“This is another way we can help citizens whose budgets are strapped because of COVID-19,” Gorton said.

“Our parks, golf courses and playgrounds will remain open,” Gorton said. “Parks are a place to take children outside that’s free and fun,” she said, noting citizens are welcome to take sanitizing wipes with them to wipe down playground equipment.

Unfortunately, the city will have to close its community centers.

“Our most important way of stopping this virus is social distancing. That’s impossible to maintain with a group in a community center,” she said.

All events hosted or permitted by the City or held in a City facility will be postponed or canceled. For example, baseball leagues will not be able to practice on city fields.

All closures apply through April 5.

Parks and social services staff will shift their responsibility to helping citizens cope with fall-out from the virus, for example reaching out to our seniors, serve as distribution sites as needed and coordinating and supporting social service agencies.

Other groups also are organizing to help provide services. For instance, the Central Kentucky chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has started an online Google doc where people can list needs and get connected with someone who can fill those needs. Find it at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeP4koOM1yO-tb6VicTWjZhCHTSrarceghikJROf6QL2Nc8eQ/viewform

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is not affiliated with the mutual aid google form. This effort is the result of a handful of community members, and it’s not affiliated with any organization.