How can we help a community struggling in a time of need?

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions, which we’re seeing through previously unimagined cancellations, warnings and recommendations. In the past several days, we’ve been faced with finding solutions to ever evolving problems. With the health and well being of our residents at stake, we’re collaborating with partner organizations to help ease the increasing burdens people are facing.

So many people have asked how they can help, reminding me of the strength our community shows in times of need. If you are interested in learning what you can do, beyond following the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control, consider these options:

• Stay in touch with neighbors through emails and phone calls to make certain the needs of others are being met. Social isolation is an issue in our society without the threats imposed by a pandemic, so needs will range from arranging to get food or medicine to simply offering your time for conversation.

• Your area churches are finding ways to help the community, even without being able to gather as congregations. Email us at info@pathforyou.org to share how your church is helping others as we try to get our arms around what efforts are already taking place.

• Many have asked how they can volunteer. As requests for social distancing and self-quarantining grow, we ask that you check the PATH Volunteer Hub’s website — www.letsvolunteer.org — social media or with your church about nonprofits’ needs.  Priorities will shift in many organizations, and balancing the health of you and your family with the needs of others is critical in these coming weeks.

• Consider donating to the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s Now and Forever Emergency Response Fund, to assist those local organizations needed the most during this health crisis. The PATH Foundation is contributing $100,000 to their efforts and will continue to monitor their needs. You can use this website for online donations.

• Remember the food banks. It’s one thing to need money to buy food for your family, but another when food seems in scarce supply at area stores. Contributions to the food bank can make a meaningful difference to people unable to make ends meet, especially now. Last week, we provided initial emergency funds of $15,000 to Fauquier FISH and the Rappahannock Food Pantry in anticipation of increased needs for getting food for children out of school. We also gave $10,000 to the Fauquier Free Clinic to make certain their needs for supplies are met. The PATH Foundation staff is in regular contact with area organizations to stay apprised of their situations.

• If you or someone you know needs help finding services, call PATH Community Link at 855-495-5465, or email communitylink@pathforyou.org. They have more than 1,000 resources within their database, and they are able to offer assistance in both English and Spanish.

The strength of our country is our people, and that is especially true in our community. Our mission is to strengthen the health and vitality of our community, both of which are being tested. As you are able, I hope you will join in these community-wide efforts to find ways you can help.

To learn more about our response to the pandemic, see resources, or find ideas for how you can help, please visit our COVID-19 Updates page.