Oswego County COVID-19 Fund helps OCO address pandemic needs
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to virtually every aspect of our lives. Businesses and organizations face unforeseen challenges that have altered their usual course of business and have had to adapt to a new normal. For Oswego County Opportunities those challenges had to be met at lightning speed.
In response to the serious health risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, OCO added a number of services to aid in both reducing the risks of exposure for its consumers and staff and offering emergency supplies to those in need.
To help offset the expenses needed to seamlessly continue its programs during the COVID-19 pandemic OCO was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the Oswego County COVID-19 Fund, an affiliate fund of the Central New York Community Foundation. The funds will go a long way in helping OCO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“OCO’s number one priority remains to be the health and safety of those we serve and our employees” said OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier. “OCO provides services to more than 15,000 people annually and employs nearly 600 dedicated staff who are working tirelessly to provide essential services to the most vulnerable during these unsettling times.”
For OCO programs who operate 24-hour residential sites, simple everyday tasks become crucial issues to contend with. Additionally, there are many in our community who are in desperate need of basic need items such as food, diapers and hygiene products.
More than 150 consumers live in OCO’s residential programs, which include shelters, houses and apartments located throughout Oswego County. In response to COVID-19 pandemic OCO took immediate action to restructure the program with additional staff and services, including an expanded courier service to provide emergency supplies to those in need and minimize the chance of the coronavirus entering its residences.
The economic impact and social restrictions put in place due to the pandemic led to an increase in the need for food, hygiene supplies and baby care items. In response OCO has been creating bags of emergency supplies and basic needs such as shelf stable foods and hygiene products. The bags, as well as personal protection items such as hand sanitizer, gloves and masks, are available for pickup at OCO’s main office in Fulton and its Hillside Commons office in Oswego.
“As a Community action agency that exists solely to protect and care for people, we are at this moment doing all we can to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of our consumers and employees,” said Cooper-Currier. “Inevitably, these additional services have placed a considerable strain on our resources. The additional funding that we have received from the Oswego County COVID-19 Fund will help to ease this strain and ensure the essential services put in place can continue. COVID-19 has forced OCO to change how we provide services, but our commitment to those in need remains the same.”
The Oswego County COVID-19 Fund is an affiliate fund of the Central New York Community Foundation. Support has been provided by the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, the United Way of Greater Oswego County, and the Oswego County Community Foundation.
Pictured here, from left, are United Way of Greater Oswego County Executive Director Patrick Dewine, Oswego County Community Foundation Advisory Council member Chena Tucker, OCO Development Coordinator Bridget Dolbear, Oswego County Community Foundation Advisory Council Member Nancy Bellow, and Executive Director of the Richard S. Shineman foundation Karen Goetz.