Community Action has programs to help people struggling during pandemic

Assistance is available with a range of programs.

community action trio
Community Action Region VI has a "Helping You Cover COVID" campaign going on to alert the public that it has programs to help people in a nine county-area who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. It offers other programs as well. Pictured, from left, are Kristina Brownell, executive director; Beth Fylling, case manager, and Shannon Ford, coordinator of the food pantry. Kathy Steiner / The Sun

Editor's note: This story is advertorial content that is part of the 2021 "Essential to Jamestown" special edition of The Jamestown Sun. The annual Progress Edition features stories on essential workers, agencies and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Assistance programs are available to help people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, said Kristina Brownell, executive director of Community Action Region VI. They include federal funds that became available during the pandemic and other assistance programs already in place, she said.

“Right now we’re doing this - the ‘Helping You Cover COVID’ campaign,” Brownell said. “When the care stimulus bill was passed in March (2020) ... there was money that was designated to assisting with people that had been directly impacted by COVID.”

Beth Fylling, case manager, assists people with that program. She said people may have been impacted some time ago and are still struggling to catch up. Funds are available to help.


“With the stimulus funds we … are seeing families that have never been here before, new clients, and we’re seeing clients that have been here before but not for quite some time,” she said.

The pandemic has negatively impacted people financially, she said, including job loss, reduced work hours and day care issues.

“We’ve seen people falling behind with rent, falling behind with utilities,” she said.

Community Action Region VI has helped pay internet bills during the pandemic for children attending school remotely whose parents can’t afford it, Fylling said.

Community Action can also refer people to other resources that are available, such as the Rent Bridge program, which provides assistance to eligible renters who have lost income due to COVID-19.

Fylling also works with families that are struggling financially, working to address the “underlying issues” of poverty and help them become more long-term self-sufficient.

Brownell said in October-November 2020, Community Action was assisting 100 more households than the previous year because of the pandemic. She noted that people with a job loss six months ago could potentially still receive assistance.

Community Action Region VI provides services in a nine-county area, so people from any of those counties may get services through the Jamestown office. Eligibility for programs is income based, although the food pantry is open to a wider range of households because of the donations taken in for the program. Counties in Region VI are Stutsman, Foster, Wells, LaMoure, Dickey, McIntosh, Logan, Barnes and Griggs.


Shannon Ford, coordinator of the food pantry, said demand has increased for food baskets. Like the stimulus program, it’s new clients as well as those who had not received help for some time needing them, she said.

“We also have a Weekend Backpack program that is for all the elementary schools in Jamestown,” Ford said. “We have 82 students right now that are on the Weekend Backpack Program.”

Programs available all year to clients include weatherization, O to 5 Head Start, Energy Share, cooling assistance, financial counseling, individual and family services and veterans assistance.

For more information, call 252-1821.

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