NWI Cares: GreatNews.Life highlights COVID-19 stories by local businesses, organizations
If there is something positive to come out of the 2020 pandemic, GreatNews.Life will find it. And we have. We’ve compiled a list of resources, services, and ways that our partners are making a positive impact on our communities in the wake of the health crisis. We encourage everyone in the region to join us in celebrating, supporting, and utilizing these incredible resources designed to lift us up during a time of need. Thank you, GreatNews.Life partners, for driving the good.
Albert’s Diamond Jewelers
Ashley Halpern from Albert's Diamond Jewelers and Katie Garza, wife of Dr. Gio Infusio, started a meal train on April 8 for nine area hospital ICU departments. Hospitals include: Community Hospital Munster, Franciscan Health Hammond, Franciscan Health Crown Point, Franciscan Health Munster, Franciscan Health Dyer, Methodist Hospital Gary, Methodist Hospital Merrillville, St. Catherine Hospital East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center Hobart. The Halpern Family - owners of Albert's Diamond Jewelers - also has hosted a Facebook Live Weekly Bingo in which viewers can play along at home with bingo cards they are able to download from the internet.
Boulder Bay Realty Group
Boulder Bay Realty Group has mobilized resources and invited others to join them in helping Porter County Aging and Community Services deliver needed meals and supplies to those in need.
In the midst of providing trusted guidance to customers during the pandemic, Centier Bank took a moment to say “Thank You” to banking associates, and all those who are working to keep our community powered and running.
City of Crown Point
The City of Crown Point is celebrating those who have formed the Crown Point Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook Page, with more than 2,900 members as of April 14 who are focused on bringing positive, joyful messages and help to those who need it.
HealthLinc has expanded telemedicine services and also made curbside pharmacy pick-ups available for safe, convenient medication access.
Whether it is a $250,000 commitment to local COVID-19 relief organizations, enacting financial assistance measures like payment deferral programs, or helping to coordinate Small Business Administration COVID-19 relief info for clients, Horizon Bank has mobilized resources for customers and provided one easy place for them to find all the info they need.
Our friends at Indiana Beverage applaud the efforts of their partners at 18th Street Distillery for quickly converting part of their operations to churn out in-demand supplies of hand sanitizer during the pandemic. Updates on how to obtain the product can be found on the 18th Street Distillery Facebook Page. (Note – please do not call 18th Street Brewery for hand sanitizer products).
Ivy Tech Community College State Board of Trustees member Marianne Glick and her spouse Mike Woods have committed $500,000 in matching funds across the state for Ivy Tech’s newly established COVID-19 Relief Fund to assist students. The COVID-19 Relief Fund will provide increased flexibility to assist the Lake County and Valparaiso/Michigan City campuses in meeting unforeseen challenges head-on in the coming days. Ivy Tech campuses specifically had $40,000 in matching funds available on April 10. The funds will be entirely supported by unrestricted charitable donations and gifts at any level to help meet our campus’ time-sensitive needs. Local matching funds must be secured by April 30, 2020 in order to benefit from the Glick gift.
Kotys Wealth Professionals
To help clients and anyone from the general public understand the federal financial stimulus laws that have been enacted, Kotys Wealth Professionals put together a two-part guide on the 2020 Cares Act, outlining the act in general, and how it relates to small businesses.
The joint efforts of Legacy Foundation, Crown Point Community Foundation, and Foundations of East Chicago have raised nearly $1 million for COVID-19 relief efforts as of April 9, 2020, and the John W. Anderson Foundation announced that it will contribute $50,900 to the Lake County COVID-19 Emergency Fund. A second round of grants totaling $46,900 has since been awarded to nine community organizations.
Life Care Center of Valparaiso
As staff on the front lines of the pandemic, charged with keeping the community’s most vulnerable population healthy and safe, Life Care Center of Valparaiso still took time to recognize others who are helping them stay strong for their residents. The staff also thanked and uplifted each other, posting messages of love and encouragement in windows. Photos can be found in their Encouraging Hearts April 2020 Facebook Album.
Lubeznik Center for the Arts
While Lubeznik Center for the Arts may be closed in bricks and mortar, they’ve opened a world of creativity for children and families to explore by offering unique online programming and interactive videos, tutorials, art projects, and lessons.
McColly Real Estate
Recognizing that our furry friends also may be suffering or in need during the pandemic, McColly Real Estate has completed a month-long collection drive for various animal shelters. The McColly Charities Shelter Buddies Drive accepted donations of dog and cat food, toys, treats, and more at the various 23 McColly Companies offices. The items were distributed to Humane Indiana (Munster), Humane Society of Northwest Indiana (Miller), Lakeshore Paws (Valparaiso), Jasper County Animal Shelter, and South Suburban Humane Society (Chicago Heights).
“When we started the drive, it was before COVID-19. By the time it was over, we had no idea how much more meaningful the donations would be to the area shelters. One shelter representative nearly wept when she saw the volume of donations that were collected by the local communities,” said Monica Decker, Director of Marketing and Technology at McColly Real Estate.
For more information on McColly Charities and how they've helped our local communities throughout the years, visit McCollyCharities.org.
NorthShore Health Centers
NorthShore Health Centers is staying true to their mission of caring for the community. They are open and continuing to care for patients' medical, emergency dental and eye care needs, and expanding delivery of healthcare services to include telehealth options, via video or telephone, for primary care, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment.
Their goal is to help maintain the health and well-being of patients and provide assistance in a way that is best for both patients and staff during this time that is uncertain for many. For accurate, up-to-date information from the CDC on the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.northshorehealth.org. To schedule an appointment, please call NorthShore Health Centers at 219-763-8112.
Portage Township Trustee
The Portage Township Food Pantry in partnership with the Portage Township Trustee’s office has distributed food to nearly 1,800 Portage Township residents since the pandemic began. That’s about five times the number of individuals served during the entire month of February. Staff and volunteers continue to serve, and welcome community support.
Porter County First Responders and Porter Regional Hospital
First responders throughout Porter County circled Porter Regional Hospital’s parking lot and, in a show of solidarity and support, flashed their lights at shift change to honor healthcare workers on the front lines.
Purdue University Northwest
Purdue University Northwest (PNW) students and faculty are volunteering to support the need for personal protective equipment for first responders during the global pandemic by using their 3D printers and expertise. Students from PNW’s College of Technology, with support from their faculty and staff mentors, are putting six of the university’s 3D printers to work to produce pieces of face shields. The pieces are a crucial part of the face shields that protect emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and other first responders when treating patients who might be carrying the coronavirus. The students, while practicing social distancing, networked the printers on PNW’s Hammond and Westville campuses. They can monitor the progress from home.
South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority
The South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority has been laser focused on supporting the hospitality industry through the pandemic. After fostering some healthy competition with local restaurants to help them drum up business for delivering meals to local healthcare workers, the South Shore CVA will soon begin using their talents to help coordinate meal distribution efforts to frontline workers.
St. Jude House
Covid-19 might stop a lot of things, but it hasn’t stopped Domestic Violence and it certainly hasn’t stopped the caring hearts of the Region! St. Jude House thanks the community for helping to keep our doors open for those who need us most as shelter-in-place has become a powder keg for abuse.
While their largest fundraiser of the year, Stand-Up for St. Jude House Comedy Night was COVID-cancelled, their solution has become “Stand-Up for St. Jude House Comedy Night and Virtual Variety Show” to take place on Friday, April 24th at 7 PM and will be simulcast live on several Facebook pages, including St. Jude House. They will be giving away very cool prizes during the April 24 show, all you have to do is shoot them an e-mail and let them know you will be watching and you will be entered. Winners will be announced live on the show! Anyone can enter! Just email your name and cell phone number to email@example.com. Winners will be called DURING the show, all they need to do is answer the phone!!
Urgent financial support can be given at our Go Fund Me Page
UnitedHealthcare has worked round the clock to expand access to care and resources for families affected by the pandemic. Efforts have included offering special enrollment opportunities, explaining how virtual health visits work, and accelerating payments to healthcare organizations.
Unity Foundation of La Porte County
Unity Foundation has been transforming the way they meet their mission of strengthening La Porte County, by offering new programs and adjusting existing ones so they can direct support where it’s most needed. They also have responded with other foundations across Northwest Indiana in a move of solidarity to form a philanthropy coalition.
United Way of Porter County
The United Way of Porter County has developed the Northwest Indiana Coronavirus Resource Guide that serves as a one-stop shop for regional resources during the COVID-19 social distancing protocol. As part of that effort, the United Way also has established a Coronavirus Pandemic Relief Fund to help with immediate needs and long-term recovery in Northwest Indiana. Contributions to that effort stay local and support those most affected by the pandemic.
In partnership with Porter County Community Foundation and other major donors, they also have begun a nonprofit grant program to support Porter County residents in need.
When Valpo Parks had to stop doing what they do best – gathering people to come together physically for fun, fitness, sport, and community – they opted for the next best thing and created opportunities for residents to stay connected to their parks in whatever way possible during the pandemic. Those who are missing their regular gatherings at Central Park Plaza should tune in to the various live concerts available by local musicians streamed on Central Park Plaza’s Facebook Page.
“We’re trying to create an escape for people and obviously Central Park Plaza is a place for gathering, so we figured out a way to partner with local musicians and support them while giving our residents a virtual place to come together. People can engage online, request songs, and interact with each other during the shows,” said Kevin Nuppnau, Business Operations Director for Valpo Parks.
While pathways and trails remain open for walking, running, and biking at safe distances during the pandemic, fields and playgrounds are closed. Still, Valpo Parks has created an equipment rental program so families can turn their backyards into playing fields.