The Jackson community is coming together to respond to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). Following the Local State of Emergency declaration from Mayor Derek Dobies on March 17, a section of Jackson County’s emergency response was activated to care for human service needs. Around the same time, the Jackson COVID-19 Action Network (JCAN) was taking shape.
JCAN is now working with the county’s emergency response to meet the needs of the community. The group consists of representatives from more than two dozen local government agencies, organizations, businesses, non-profits, resident-lead community groups, and volunteers. JCAN is focused on ensuring all Jackson County residents have access to food, shelter, information and other basic needs.
Several initiatives have been launched to raise funds, obtain supplies, and organize volunteers. JCAN is currently supported through a fund established by the United Way of Jackson County and the Jackson Community Foundation. The fund has already raised more than $150,000 for the JCAN effort from community donations. The money will be used to purchase and distribute supplies to residents in need. Some of the essential items include:
- Baby formula
- Baby wipes
- Diapers and pull-ups
- Tampons and pads
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper
- Sanitizer wipes
- Over the counter meds
- Laundry soap
Funds raised will also support local organizations to help residents and address long-term implications of the crisis. Monetary donations are accepted online by visiting uwjackson.org and going to the “Donate” section.
For those wanting to donate the items listed, donation sites are established at the Jackson YMCA and the City of Jackson’s Boos Community Center.
The YMCA is located at 127 W. Wesley St. Assisted drop off is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the alley on the east side of the building. Unassisted drop off is taking place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the loading dock on the west side of the building.
The Boos Community Center is located in Loomis Park at 210 Gilbert St. Donations are accepted Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Items will sit for several days in a secure area and regularly wiped down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Those looking for help should call the 2-1-1 helpline to get connected to assistance from JCAN and other community resources. JCAN is also looking for volunteers to assist with response efforts. Anyone interested in volunteering should also call 2-1-1 if they’re interested in volunteering.
City of Jackson Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick is leading communication efforts for JCAN. He says this united response shows the best of the community during troubling times. “The Jackson community is putting together an emergency response like we’ve never seen before. While our local organizations and volunteers lead the way, we’re also asking for people all over Jackson County to lend a helping hand so we can keep up with growing demands of those in need,” Dimick said.
JCAN will continue to update the community on new response initiatives and services when they’re available. More information about JCAN can be found by visiting cityofjackson.org/coronavirus.