STURGIS, MI – GT Independence has committed $100,000 to provide relief to the community of Sturgis during the coronavirus pandemic. Countywide, Sturgis Area Community FoundationThree Rivers Area Community Foundation, and the St. Joseph County United Way are collaborating to deliver aid to residents who are affected by statewide closures and restrictions.

With lead support from GT Independence, Sturgis Area Community Foundation has established the Sturgis Community Emergency Hardship Fund and has committed an additional $50,000 to its work. The new fund will focus on helping local workers who have been impacted by community-wide quarantining measures. This includes individuals who have lost jobs or working hours, and who have encountered other financial hardships due to coronavirus restrictions. An additional $50,000 from GT Independence will be set aside for donations to support community-based agencies in the area.

“The Sturgis community is GT’s home and we are honored to be able to serve in this way. The goal of the Emergency Hardship Fund is to quickly deliver financial relief to families in our community who find themselves in crisis,” said GT Independence CEO John Carmichael.

In addition to the Emergency Hardship Fund, Sturgis Area Community Foundation affiliates, the White Pigeon and Constantine Area Community Foundations, are issuing $25,000 in emergency grants to the St. Joseph County United Way, to provide similar aid to residents of White Pigeon and Constantine. Funding is being made possible through White Pigeon’s Adele M. Gray Fund and Constantine’s Edwin and Marguerite Haines Memorial Fund.

“Because of the leadership of GT Independence, the generosity of our donors, and the partnership of our local United Way, we will be able to quickly provide aid to those residents who need it most,” says Lindsay Richardson, Executive Director of Sturgis Area Community Foundation.

Richardson says Emergency Hardship Grant Applications will become available Wednesday, March 25. Applications will be available online at www.sturgisfoundation.org as well as online on the St. Joseph County United Way website at www.sjcuw.com.

Three Rivers Area Community Foundation will also open an emergency fund, committing $10,000 to provide aid to residents of Three Rivers. Local businesses and individuals who would like to help are encouraged to contribute.

“In times of crisis, coordination is vital, and we are grateful for the leadership within St. Joseph county. It is our goal to collaborate with our partners at the Sturgis Area Community Foundation and the St. Joseph County United Way to provide support and resources as the immediate needs and economic impacts are already hitting our communities,” says Melissa Bliss, its Executive Director.

St. Joseph County United Way is working alongside both Community Foundations to deliver assistance to those in crisis. Additionally, the organization is working around the clock to provide access to food for those in need. United Way has developed a “Pandemic Food Fund” to help direct funding to food insecurity around the county.

“As families we are entering a very scary time in our lives. I am honored to work with the Sturgis Foundation and Three Rivers Foundation to collaborate badly needed emergency services in St. Joseph County. The money we have raised for this pandemic, will be used for emergency food services. Generosity at this time of concern is humbling and we will do everything we can to keep food in people’s homes,” says Kelly Hostetler, Executive Director of St. Joseph County United Way.

Hostetler says anyone wanting to contribute to the Pandemic Food Fund may do so on their website and requests for food assistance may be directed to the United Way office at 467-9099.