Sandra Toussaint, president and CEO, United Way of Mercer County.

We hope everyone is safe and in good health.

During these past few weeks, we have seen an increase in the need for food, housing, and more. Stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues are on the rise due to the uncertainties that lie ahead for the people we care about and the businesses we patronize.

United Way of Greater Mercer County was here during 9/11, the recession, and other crises. This one is no different, and our commitment will not waver.

The full ramifications of this global pandemic are unknown. What we do know is that vulnerable communities are facing the hardest challenges. Before COVID-19, many of our families, neighbors, and co-workers were already struggling to make ends meet.

That is why our staff is continuing to work with families, especially those who are newly unemployed, connecting them to life-saving federal resources like NJ SNAP (food stamps), health benefits, utility and rent assistance.

We have also created a Compassion Fund 9 to provide additional assistance to families and support NJ211, mental health services, and financial resources. During this unprecedented time, it is the continued generosity of individual donors and corporations that enables us to impact the lives of struggling families (ALICE- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed).

We will continue to work to address community needs. Our families, neighbors, and co-workers are counting on us. We’ve pulled together a set of resources that offer guidance on navigating COVID-19. I encourage you to visit our website regularly for updates.

LIVE United rings true now more than ever. We can come back stronger, let us LIVE United.

Sandra Toussaint is president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Mercer County.