September 1, 2020

Face Mask Distribution Expands for Local Services

LoAnn Ayers, United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties

Imagine being solely responsible for a disabled, adult child.  That’s a big task.  Now, add the challenges imposed by the pandemic.  No longer can you take your son for therapy or socialization activities which helped him maintain progress and gave you time to run errands. 
As the pandemic lingers, you see isolation take a toll on your son.  He feels isolated, depressed, angry, and withdrawn.  You also no longer get a few hours of respite during which you can enjoy alone time or get groceries.  Care for your son is your 24/7 job.  And there is no end in sight.
A local mom recently conveyed this scenario.  As she saw her son regress, stress started to impact her own health.  But she had no one else to turn to until a ray of hope appeared. 
That hope was rooted in the GCACH distribution of over 118,000 face masks to our local United Way.  According to Dr. LoAnn Ayers, President & CEO of United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties, “These masks are enabling more than 30 local non-profits to equip their staff and volunteers to safely provide services.  Many also provide facemasks to their client families to support widespread mask use.”
The next chapter to our opening story is the resumption of services to serve families coping with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  In this example, the Arc of Tri-Cities received several cases of face masks, along with a local United Way grant.  This family—both son and mom—now benefits from weekly home visits and outings with a trained professional. 
“The distribution of masks is a major boost to local nonprofits as they help individuals and families recover and rebuild toward a better future,” said LoAnn.  “Thank you for GCACH’s role in supporting wellness across the region.”