Donation boosts COVID-19 Response Fund

Jarrett Damron, 11, smiles as he is surrounded by paper goods and other essential items he and his sister, Hannah, 13, will help assemble for COVID-19 Senior Response Packs with their mom, United Way of the Mark Twain Area Executive Director Denise Damron.
By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Mar. 25, 2020 10:06 am

HANNIBAL | The General Mills plant of Hannibal donated $7,000 to the United Way of the Mark Twain Area COVID-19 Response Fund, helping provide needed supplies and services like Senior Support Bags for Meals on Wheels recipients in Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls and Shelby counties.

Denise Damron, executive director of the United Way of the Mark Twain Area, said nonprofit organizations can apply for mini-grants in response to COVID-19, stressing many United Way partner agencies have established new programs or seen increased demand for services in the wake of the virus outbreak. Nonprofit groups that are not United Way partner agencies also are eligible to apply for funding, and Damron said the established community groups will be able to decide the best way to respond to COVID-19-related issues in each region.

“That's really where the bulk of the work will take place — on the front lines of our United Way partners,” Damron said, adding that agencies are changing the way they do business as people rely more heavily on area food pantries. “We're excited to have this as an additional revenue fund to help them through this tough time.”

Damron also said the United Way of the Mark Twain Area's phone number, 573-221-2761, has been set up as a community help line for anyone with questions about assistance. She said many people have voiced concerns about food availability as they find empty shelves in local stores thatare struggling to keep up with customers stockpiling grocery items.

On Monday morning, Damron, her son, Jarrett, 11, and her daughter, Hannah, 13, were busy assembling about 100 Senior Support bags to bring to Lewis County.

Damron said the Senior Support Bags are dropped off at senior centers in the United Way coverage area and are delivered to senior citizens enrolled in the Meals on Wheels program.

“A lot of our seniors are homebound individuals, and they can't get out,” Damron said. “For them to be able to have these things delivered to their door will be so helpful for them, and also help them stay home.”

Jarrett and Hannah Damron both enjoyed the chance to help make a difference with their mom and see the impact of delivering food and other items to people who need them.

“People help me, so I just want to help other people,” Jarrett said. His sister shared what she liked the most about giving back.

“My favorite part is when we see people who come to get their food, and they're so excited because they've never seen people do this before with them,” Hannah said. “It's exciting for people — and also to see people excited — and I like to help them a lot. We deliver to senior centers, and they deliver it to people.”

Damron was happy to see her children working to make a difference for people through the area.

“I'm proud of my kiddos, for certain,” Damron said.

A new “2020 Let's Roll” T-shirt will be available for sale soon to support the COVID-19 Response Fund, and the shirts will be delivered from the T-shirt manufacturer to the donor's door. Damron said links will be posted on and across the United Way's social media platforms.

Opportunities for individuals and businesses to support the COVID-19 Response Fund are available by giving online at, through the United Way of the Mark Twain Area's Facebook Page, or sending payments, specially marked for the COVID-19 Response Fund, to P.O. Box 81 Hannibal, Mo. 63401.

Damron said donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund make a big impact during rapidly-changing times.

“We know that so many lives will be able to be touched, and we know that these individuals that are being helped with this fund need this right now — need these services, need these different things — because life for a lot of people, all of a sudden, within two weeks time looked a lot different,” Damron said. “We are very, very happy that we are able to assist individuals to ensure that they have what they need.”



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