Non-Profits Benefit from Tulsa County CARES Program

In the past three editions of GTR, I have had the privilege of sharing with you how Tulsa County has been directing the estimated $114,000,000 of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding which the county received towards helping the citizens of our county hit hard by the coronavirus.
To date, our priorities have been to bring aid and relief to some of the 550 small businesses and their employees, who due to no fault of their own have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, to support the efforts of the Tulsa City County Health Department, to mitigate the large number of residents who may be evicted from their homes, and to provide protection and safety for all who enter into a county facility.
The latest areas of our efforts have been to support the tremendously important work of many of our non-profit agencies as they strive to meet the individual needs of our citizens. To gauge where the need is the greatest and how Tulsa County’s CARES funds can be most beneficial, we have relied on those in the community most familiar with the nonprofit sector as well as the information collected by the Community Service Council’s 211 call center.
The 211 call center is the number citizens can call when they need to be connected with vital services. Through 211, citizens are put in touch with professionally trained resource officers who can ascertain what is needed and where to refer the caller for the help they need.
By looking at the data collected through the 211 calls received between March 1st and June 30th, it was clear where we needed to direct our disbursement of CARES funding.
During this four-month span, 211 received over 10,000 calls from citizens looking for food and meals for themselves and their families. Twenty five percent (25%) of the 41,115 calls received during this time were from citizens who were struggling with the basic need for food.
Tulsa County is fortunate that we have several well-run nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is to collect and distribute meals and food. This includes Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa, Meals on Wheels, Iron Gate, and The Tulsa Dream Center. Collectively, these organizations provided food and meals to over 100,000.
Through the Tulsa County CARES program, the Board of County Commissioners awarded each of these agencies $250,000 to go towards their mission of distributing fresh food and meals to those most in need throughout Tulsa County.
These awards are just the first of many for non- profit agencies which the Board of County Commissioners will be considering in the weeks ahead. We will continue to support agencies on the front lines that are helping those who are struggling with coronavirus issues.