View Buncombe County Community Resources Here (or dial 2-1-1 anytime)
The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented challenge—for our community and for people everywhere—in ways that we are only now beginning to understand.
While federal, state and local health officials agree that social distancing is key to fighting the spread of this virus, we also know that closing schools and curtailing public services will put a strain on many in our community, especially those living at or below the poverty line.
There are many in our community who are working hard to ensure that all our neighbors are cared for. United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is committed to being there at every stage of this crisis as it unfolds.
As a valued member of our community, we want you to know what United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is doing in these early days of the crisis and how you can help.
Community Safety Is Our Priority
The health and safety of our community is our number one priority. We have taken steps to protect our staff, volunteers and community partners, including canceling all events through the month of April, directing our staff to work from home, and urging our building tenants to do the same.
* On March 25, 2020, Buncombe County issued a "Stay Home-Stay Safe" declaration that provided additional guidelines residents should follow for COVID-19. Under this declaration, providing essential services such as access to food and other basic needs is still allowed. At this time, volunteers are still allowed to support these needs provided that social distancing guidelines are followed.
Our Response Strategies
United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County’s long history, expertise, and diverse network of relationships across the community position us well to respond to this crisis in critically important ways. Specifically, we see our highest priorities to be:
Connecting individuals and families in Buncombe County — and across WNC — to the resources, they need to get through this crisis.
- NC 2-1-1 will be a valuable source of information and referrals for individuals and families experiencing hardship as a result of school and business closures. Right now, we are updating the resources in our database to reflect community response efforts and preparing ourselves for a dramatic spike in call volume as a result of the crisis.
- Community Schools will serve as important hubs of community support for students and families in Asheville and Buncombe County. We are working with parents, staff and community partners at our schools to identify the most urgent needs emerging from the crisis and developing strategies to meet those needs swiftly.
Connecting community partners in Buncombe County with the resources they need to effectively serve individuals and families.
- We are tracking the emerging needs of our community and school partners and linking them with the resources they need to be effective.
- We are focusing the work of our volunteer center, Hands On Asheville-Buncombe, into serving as a dynamic inventory of volunteer opportunities that address relief efforts. This page will change as opportunities are developed in the days and weeks to come so be sure to come back to it regularly.
Helping you to connect to things that you can do to help
First of all, don’t panic. While the spread of COVID-19 is serious, it can be slowed and reduced by taking a few simple precautions. Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, avoid close contact with others (particularly large groups). In addition, here are a few things to remember:
- Stay informed and follow the instructions from our local and state leaders. The Buncombe County COVID-19 Readiness Site and the NC COVID Response Site are just two important sites to keep handy.
- Use the statewide hotline if you have COVID-19 specific health concerns: 866-462-3821.
- Call United Way’s 2-1-1 if you have questions about general community support services (24 hours a day/7 days a week) and please encourage others to call as well.
- Sign up for periodic alerts on volunteer opportunities that will arise during this health crisis and let others know to do the same.
- Keep your eyes open for scams or even well-meaning but inaccurate social shares. We spotted a post about “United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund”. Upon further investigation, we learned that this was for Indiana residents only and quickly got that information out to the people sharing it. If you ever have a question about the legitimacy of an offer, check around and if it relates to us, give us a call or drop us a line and we can verify that for you.
- Be sure to fill out your Census card. Census cards are arriving in the mail this week and you can also submit your family response online. This is a crucial thing for us all to do as it ensures the proper allocation of federal and state resources to communities across the country.
- Support our work on the ground, right here in Buncombe County and for those interested in supporting regional efforts, visit the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.
These are challenging times, but we will get through them if we choose to LIVE UNITED.