COVID-19 Response: Navigating Uncharted Territory

Kandice RileyCOVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Community Response: Navigating Uncharted Territory

When COVID-19 hit the Ozarks in the spring of 2020, United Way of the Ozarks and our partner nonprofits had to cancel or postpone all fundraisers and awareness events scheduled due to safety concerns. Along with this, transitioning to working from home and utilizing new tools for working remotely became our main concerns. For many, relying on virtual communication was uncharted territory. Staying connected was vital to addressing the needs of our community. Our partners nonprofits expressed concerns in making this transition to ensure the safety of their staff, clients, and volunteers. Through United Way of the Ozarks’ Coronavirus Response Fund, our nonprofit partners were able to purchase virtual meeting software subscriptions, upgrade equipment, and improve internet availability. 

United Way of the Ozarks Partner nonprofits utilize online programming

From left to right: a child at the YMCA uses a laptop to do homework; Harmony House’s ‘Knitting for a Cause’ virtual event; CASA used virtual meetings to train volunteers; NAMI’s new technology designed to screen visitors and employees.

Although this new normal was strange and unfamiliar, our partners were eager to explore the possibilities and innovations that came with virtual communication. The following nonprofit partners expressed this need during the COVID-19 pandemic and used the funds allocated to them to purchase the necessary supplies:

Expanding Telehealth

Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center provides crucial services for those in our community. When COVID-19 hit the Ozarks, finding innovative ways to support those in our community was more important than ever. Telehealth allows counselors to virtually meet with their clients. The expansion of this service was crucial in meeting the demands for mental health services during a time of isolation.

Andrea Bishop, the Executive Director of Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center, emphasized the need for this expansion. “We have been able to offer more therapy than ever before,” Bishop explained. “Through relief help, we were able to bring on extra therapists, which helped offer evening sessions and maximize the amount of sessions we can host at the same time. Throughout the challenges that came with facing the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned to do things on the fly and innovate to meet the needs of our clients.”

Andrea Bishop discussed the rising mental health concerns in the Ozarks during the pandemic and the ways we can advocate for our own mental health during these difficult times in this story from KY3.

Counselors have been utilizing the expansion of Telehealth to virtually meet with clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 1952, Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center has provided guidance and support to those in our community, and when crisis occurs, they work diligently to advocate for mental health services. They are a crucial part of our community and serve as a beacon of hope.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way of the Ozarks has continued to host regular Zoom meetings for our partner nonprofit CEOs and senior-level staff. This is an opportunity to both share information with our partners and to listen to them and discern their priority needs. We have stayed in communication with various government, civic, and community leaders so that our network of United Way nonprofits can operate efficiently and effectively as we all navigate uncharted territory. 


Stay tuned to our blog as we publish a “good news” story each week detailing the ways our community has risen to the pandemic’s challenge to LIVE UNITED. You can also sign up to receive our monthly newsletter to stay connected to the work United Way of the Ozarks is doing to make a difference in our community.

United Way of the Ozarks is committed to supporting our nonprofit community throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.