Volunteers help families through Ottawa Co. initiative


HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — People who live in Ottawa County are finding ways to help their neighbors while social distancing at home. 

Last month, community resources in the area teamed up to create careottawacounty.com. The site connects people with ways to volunteer and support others during the coronavirus shutdown.

Sarah Lilly is one of 250 people now volunteering to help her community. She is sewing masks and supporting the #StayHomeFightHunger campaign through Community Action House in Holland.

“They’re asking for a list of nonperishable items that we then pack into a box. They will then add perishable items to that so that we can give it to families, and it gives them enough food for seven days,” Lilly explained Wednesday. 

The items can be purchased during a trip to the grocery store. The packed boxes are then dropped off outside Community Action House to maintain healthy protocols before being distributed to families in Ottawa County.

Also, when someone drops off one of these boxes at that location, there will be a $45 match if the person posts about it on Facebook and include the hashtag #StayHomeFightHunger. 

“It makes a big difference,” Lilly said. “I mean, we’re in really unique times. I’m used to being out and about. This is very different for me, so I like to be able to feel like I’m doing something even while I’m staying home.”

Mike Goorhouse, who previously talked to News 8 about the website, said the online portal had 30,000 visits as of Wednesday afternoon. 

The site also allows people to give a monetary donation, which Goorhouse said now amounts to $600,000 in an emergency needs fund.

Lilly also credits Facebook for connecting her to a page that is connecting handmade face masks with people who need them. 

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