May 14, 2020

COVID-19 Response Fund Partner Profile: Bridging Communities

United Way for Southeastern Michigan and our partners work to ensure that our region’s most vulnerable families have the support they need to weather the short- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows us to rapidly deploy funds to organizations that are working tirelessly to help individuals and families access food, shelter, health care and other critical resources.

As of May 14, more than $13 million had been awarded to nearly 500 organizations.

We’ll continue to share more stories of how together, we’re helping families in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties weather this crisis. Visit our blog to learn more about how we’re responding.

Bridging Communities, Inc. (BCI)  is a grassroots nonprofit organization that provides vital resources for senior citizens in Southwest Detroit. Their work includes services and programs like meal delivery, home repair, affordable housing, transportation, neighborhood stabilization and more.

COVID-19 has hit Detroit particularly hard. The elderly population that BCI serves is especially vulnerable to contracting the virus.

“Like everyone else, we have been impacted by this virus,” said Phyllis Edwards, Bridging Communities, Inc. Executive Director. “As a community organization we are certainly not exempt. Me, our staff, and our clients are at risk each day. It touches everyone’s life.”

Instilling Hope 

Social distancing drastically altered the normal operations of the organization. Bridging Communities volunteers and staff have shifted to providing telephone check-ins, telemedicine, grocery and household item deliveries to their clients.

“If we didn’t have some of the funding from United Way, some of our bills wouldn’t have gotten paid and we wouldn’t be able to provide food distribution to our seniors.”

According to Phyllis Edwards, the United Way Community Response Fund was crucial in helping Bridging Communities to continue serving their clients when they needed it most.

“With their help, we have also contracted mental health services to help our clients grieve losing their loved ones and cope with stress related to COVID-19. We also provided tablets and laptops to allow counselors to speak with them virtually through Zoom and other platforms.”

Going Forward

The nonprofit is dedicated to making their clients feel safe, comfortable and connected to their community. That’s true now, during these uncertain times, and in the future.

“Bridging Communities wants to be proactive and not reactive. We are looking beyond the end of the April to also be able to provide food for May and June. The funding has made that possible.”

Eldercare services like BCI are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and the wellbeing of Detroit residents.

“I appreciate the United Way for stepping up and helping us during this crisis. They took the initiative to lead and others are following them.”

For more information on Bridging Communities, visit: www.bridgingcommunities.org.