SIH COVID-19 Relief Fund provides grants to 18 social service agencies

SIH COVID-19 Relief Fund provides grants to 18 social service agencies

CARBONDALE — Boys & Girls Club of Southern Illinois will continue to serve evening meals to families thanks in part to a grant from SIH COVID-19 Relief Fund through the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation.

SIH System Director for Community Health Angie Bailey said unemployment, poverty, food insecurity, access to care issues, transportation and financial barriers adversely affect the health of people in Southern Illinois. Poverty in the region is significant. The most recent SIH Community Health Needs Assessment, completed in 2018, showed between 14.4% and 23.4% of Southern Illinois residents were living at or below the poverty line, depending on the county.

“We know these things play such a role in health. Now, with people being laid off or working reduced hours because of COVID-19, we expect the numbers have increased,” Bailey said.

SIH regularly partners with social service agencies to help address these needs, so SIH created the SIH COVID-19 Relief Fund to help during the pandemic. Through donations from the people of Southern Illinois and individual SIH employees, they raised funds to assist with local community and health care-worker needs.

“We started the fund in mid-March when we recognized the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our community,” SIH Foundation Director Jill Gobert said. 

Boys & Girls Club of Southern Illinois was one of 18 agencies in the lower 16 counties that received funding in the first round of application review. Each agency will receive $1,000 to address social determinants of health and other COVID-19 related needs.

BGCSI has been providing dinner to between 125 and 150 families each day, for a total of more than 13,000 meals since March 16. Tina Carpenter, executive director, said they purchase food from local restaurants, then distribute it to families. She added that the restaurants have provided these meals at a discount. The program not only helps feed hungry families, but also brings in revenue for struggling businesses.

“It means a lot for us to get this support. It means we’ll be able to keep supporting local families,” Carpenter said.

The grant will pay costs for two days of meals.

Recipients of the first round of funding are listed with their plans to use the funding below.

In addition to BGCSI, recipients are:

Carbondale Warming Center Jackson County will purchase soap, paper towels, soap dispensers, masks and sanitizer.

Centerstone of Franklin, Jackson, Union and Williamson counties will provide PPE for residential homes and urgent client needs including emergency food, shelter, access to technology and other essential needs.

Coleman Tri County Services in Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Johnson, Pope, Saline, White and Williamson counties will provide gas cards, travel kits and printed educational material clients to travel to and from medical appointments.

Crosswalk Community Action Agency, which serves Franklin, Jackson and Williamson counties, will purchase 1,000 hygiene items such as shampoo and toothpaste for clients.

Daystar Community Programs in Alexander, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pulaski, Union and Williamson counties will use their grant for food and supplies for their soup kitchen, and a plumber and supplies for clients.

Du Quoin Food Pantry in Perry County will purchase food and coupons for perishable items such as milk and eggs at local supermarkets.

Family Counseling Center Inc. serving Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties will provide a subscription for online classes for individuals with developmental disabilities and sports equipment for low-income families to encourage physical and mental health.

Good Samaritan Ministries in Jackson County will purchase food and supplies for its food pantry and to-go meals.

Greater Galatia Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry in Saline County will purchase a computer and printer to print out nutritional information and recipes for clients, cleaning equipment and food.

Marion Ministerial Alliance in Williamson County will purchase food and cover the additional expense of carry-out packaging for to-go meals.

Perry County Health Department will provide fresh fruit, vegetables and cleaning supplies for clients.

Pregnancy Matters will serve clients in Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pop, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, White and Williamson counties by providing car seats, formula, wipes, diapers, Pack-n-Plays and bottles.

Shawnee Development Council Inc. in Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties will purchase food and supplies for their three food pantries.

Southern Pride Senior Program in Alexander, Johnson, Massac, Pulaski and Union counties will provide coolers/outdoor equipment for delivery of food and meals.

Thompsonville Community of Christ Food Pantry in Franklin County will purchase food.

Victory Dream Center, serving Jackson, Perry, Union and Williamson counties, will purchase of food, pay the cost of truck transportation and outdoor food distribution equipment.

White County Senior Citizen's Center Inc. in Hamilton and White counties will purchase food.

Gobert said the application period is open for the second round of grants from the SIH COVID-19 Relief Fund. Round 2 applications will be accepted through June 26. Visit for additional information.

She said Southern Illinois residents and SIH employees have been generous in donating to the fund. If you would like to donate, visit or call 618-457-5200, ext. 67843.