The COVID-19 pandemic created disruptions in employment, education, food, housing and more, and Northwoods-area residents were not immune. However, they were able to benefit from a special community fund set up specifically to help during the pandemic.
Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan established a $400,000 COVID Support Fund to provide financial resources quickly to community organizations that could help address local needs because of the sharp increase in issues associated with COVID-19.
In partnership with awarded organizations, this fund ensures individuals and families have food and can pay rent, teachers can teach and extra measures are taken to keep everyone safe.
In the Lakeland area surrounding Marshfield Medical Center-Minocqua, five fund recipients addressed food resources. Through the fund, Feed Our Rural Kids, Inc., and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Eagle River, focused on supplemental food programs like Weekend Backpacks and mobilizing volunteers to ensure all students and families could access school-provided meals.
The Lakeland Pantry in Arbor Vitae, Rhinelander Area Food Pantry and Vilas Food Pantry met increased demand for food while protecting consumers and volunteers through safety precautions and using personal protective equipment.
"COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for our communities and organizations working to improve health within them," said Jay Shrader, vice president of Community Health and Wellness, Marshfield Clinic Health System. "There is virtually no part of life that has not been touched by this. These funds were made available to help organizations quickly respond to new needs and a new way of operating."