Banding together in crisis: Funds, resources and webinars offered in community amid pandemic

MARQUETTE — The Superior Health Foundation has unanimously agreed to funnel $15,000 to the COVID-19 Pandemic Fund.

SHF recently created the Upper Peninsula-wide fund by setting aside $25,000 to help organizations with emergent equipment and programming needs. That funding, coupled with charitable gifts, has since been awarded to 26 organizations across the region, sparking the demand to award additional funding.

“Not surprisingly, the needs of our nonprofit friends are immediate and we want to do our part to help,” said Jim LaJoie, SHF executive director, in a news release. “This initial funding helped organizations in a wide array of areas, including personal protection equipment, sanitation and cleaning supplies, medications, IT needs and many more.

“We’ve talked to many nonprofit leaders across the U.P., who not surprisingly find themselves in unfamiliar territory. We hope these grants help in some way.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic Fund awards a maximum of $1,000 to organizations. To apply or to give a charitable tax-deductible gift, visit superiorhealthfoundation.org and click on the COVID-19 Pandemic Fund button.

“A number of donors from across the U.P. have supported this fund with charitable gifts,” LaJoie said. “We encourage others to consider supporting.”

Sault Tribe extends


The Sault Tribe government, based in Sault Ste. Marie, has extended its temporary closure of all governmental offices, with a planned reopening date of May 3.

The tribe is extending the closure to protect tribal members, team members and their families from exposing themselves to COVID-19.

The closure began March 23 with the original plan being to reopen on Monday.

All government team members are considered on-call with many working from home, the tribe announced. Tribal team members’ emergency pay will continue with the exception of seasonal team members and those who might be temporarily laid off. Team members are asked to contact their supervisors with any questions.

At its March 24 meeting, the Sault Tribe Board of Directors unanimously voted to access the tribe’s $5.5 million of contract support cost settlement funds to cover team member wages during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Tribal Elder Services has been handing out lunches to elders who drive up and is also delivering meals as usual. Commodity Foods has been preparing food boxes based on members’ previous preferences and loading them into members’ trunks as they pull up. Health clinics are open with limited hours and appointment-only status and are taking precautions to keep team members safe.

All but essential service workers will stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Webinars planned

The Lake Superior Community Partnership is hosting the COVID Resources for Upper Peninsula Businesses Webinar at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to address questions from businesses on challenges related to COVID-19.

Panelists for the webinar include: Mary Myers, LSCP director of business development; Marty Fittante, CEO of InvestUP; Laura Marohnic, regional director, Small Business Development Center; and Laura Katers Reilly, an attorney with Kendricks, Bordeau, Keefe, Seavoy & Larsen, PC.

Panelists will touch on a checklist for what businesses should be doing now as well as Michigan Economic Development Corporation programs, manufacturing retooling needs, Federal Reserve information, an overview of Small Business Development Center programs and unemployment-related topics.

There will be a question-and-answer period during the webinar, which is free and open to the public. To pre-register, go to bit.ly/covidresourceswebinar. Questions before the webinar can be submitted to Emily Tardiff at etardiff@marquette.org.

Michigan State University Extension food safety educators will host a live webinar series beginning on Monday. The webinar will last from 10 to 10:30 a.m. The first webinar will provide recommendations for handling takeout food safely.

Participants are encouraged to ask their questions during a question-and-answer portion of the event. Registration is encouraged and can be found at https://msu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jgda8FLTS_Spg_kJmSY_Mw.

Closures announced

The Peter White Public Library will remain closed to the public until April 30, extending the closure past Monday’s original reopening date.

To provide an outlet during this time of social distancing, money has been set aside to buy more e-books in the next three months for the online collection. It’s also now possible to register for a book online, making it easy to access materials from home during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.

Staff is working on planning and creating more virtual programs. The library has been providing storytimes and programs for families on its Youth Services Facebook page for the past several weeks and has been providing weekly meditation classes via Zoom.

Online subscription services such as access to The New York Times, Libby by Overdrive, the Kanopy streaming service, Mango Languages, genealogy databases, the eLife archive and other resources are available to cardholders at PWPL. All electronic resources can be found at www.pwpl.info and on Facebook and Instagram.

PWPL Director Andrea Ingmire said she has received several questions about the library providing curbside pickup, but noted that under state order, libraries are not permitted to offer that service at this time.

“We know this is a very difficult time, and we look forward to providing in-person services again,” Ingmire said in a news release.

The Hiawatha, Ottawa and Huron-Manistee national forests are shutting down developed recreation facilities and restrooms, as well as suspending trash pickup, indefinitely effective immediately.

In the Hiawatha and Ottawa forests, all overnight use is shut down and no campfires are allowed to minimize the risk to first responders in the event of a wildfire.

Christie Mastric can be reached at cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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