La PORTE — The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is creating an online resource for those looking for La Porte County’s COVID-19 pandemic response information, and will also consider grants to help the effort.

“HFL has leveraged its strong relationships with local officials, community members and organizations to create what will become a comprehensive online resource for those looking for La Porte County’s COVID-19 pandemic response information,” according to Maria Fruth, president and CEO of HFL.

The site is “a reliable source for current information regarding local community resources and updates from trusted sources locally, statewide and nationally,” she said.

The site – hflaporte.org/covid-19-resources/ – is divided into four tabs:

Local Community Resources includes info on school meal programs, food pantries, mobile meals and more

Health information offers tips on how to stay well and respond to health concerns at the local level

Government & Hospitals COVID-19 includes the latest statements and updates from local hospitals, government entities such as the Indiana State Department of Health, the Governor and more

Local Community Needs is a list of organizations accepting volunteer assistance, donations, and other help for those who want to help their community

“This is a time of uncertainty for all and the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte is in a good position to coordinate resource information for our county,” Fruth said.

“This is right in line with Healthcare Foundation of La Porte’s mission to build healthier communities. We will keep this site updated as efficiently as possible with current information and welcome any individuals to share their information with us for each of these sections. Just email contact@ hflaporte.org.”

The Foundation has been “proactive from day one,” according to Jeff Bernel, HFL Board chairman.

“Maria has been way out front in bringing together local government leaders, school officials, food banks, health agencies, and other groups to create a well-organized response to this challenge,” he said.

To further help the situation, the HFL board will consider and possibly vote on a plan at its meeting Wednesday to provide emergency grant funding to qualifying organizations responding to the pandemic, Fruth said.

“This plan will be designed to grant emergency funds to organizations fulfilling our immediate needs as we respond to the pandemic, but it also will address long-term plans to provide funding that our local not-for-profits and other organizations will need to effectively emerge from this crisis,” she said.

Grants likely will be prioritized for organizations working to combat food insecurity, and those helping at-risk populations such as the elderly, according to Fruth. They will also address emergency response medical supplies and other operational expenses that not-for-profits may have while responding to the pandemic.

The coordination and response on the part of the HFL is even more important in light of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order requiring all Hoosiers to shelter in place, Fruth said.

The HFL expects the application process for emergency funding to be simple so funds can be granted swiftly, she said.

“Depending on board action Wednesday, we will release plans to the community on how organizations may apply as soon as possible.”

She also encourages community members who are able and want to help where there are local needs to visit the Local Community Needs tab on the HFL COVID-19 Hub.

“We have had many people inquiring about how they can help, and this speaks to the true nature of our communities in times of crisis in La Porte County,” Fruth said. “We are happy to create an online place where neighbors can go to learn how to help each other.”

She advises residents to adhere to state and CDC guidelines, and visit the HFL COVID-19 Hub for current information. Anyone who has updates or new information for the page should email contact@hflaporte.org.

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