Ottawa County asking for helpers amid coronavirus shutdowns

Coronavirus

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County is asking people to volunteer or donate to help vulnerable populations as the entire state takes actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The county said there are a number of programs that serve people who still need care and housing amid closures and public health procedures. You can go to a website the county set up, careottawacounty.com, to sign up to volunteer or donate goods or money.

“The human impulse is to want to help. If you can help, you want to help, so we were getting phone calls from people saying, ‘How can I donate goods or dollars or volunteer?’ And we thought we need to create one-stop shop to just funnel everyone to one place,” Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area President Mike Goorhouse told News 8.

The county noted that older people, who are most at risk of developing severe complications from coronavirus, are being asked to stay home. But those people are also frequent volunteers, so there’s a shortage on that front.

Volunteer opportunities set up through the website will include driving meals without making direct contact with others, or phone trees organized to keep in touch with people who would benefit from a phone call to see how things are going.

“We’ve already had over 125 folks sign up to volunteer,” Goorhouse said Monday. “There’s a place if you want to donate food or goods. We’ve picked five key organizations to be the hub and it has a running list of their highest needs and literally it changes by the day, what are their highest need right now. And then there’s an opportunity to donate financially.”

The community leader explained more than $85,000 was set aside to get the financial need covered right away when the website launched. More than $40,000 of that has already been allocated, Goorhouse said.

The website also reminds people how they can find help.

“We knew that when the website was getting out there, there’d be people finding their way there that were looking for help, not looking to help, so we have a piece of the website that funnels them to 211,” Goorhouse said.

The website was set up with help from the Greater Ottawa County United Way, The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Community Spoke and The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.


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