We’re up against something we’ve never seen before. A global pandemic; uprooting the way we interact, altering how we work, transforming the way we live. Change can be difficult, but change can also bring about a new normal, that may leave us with a better sense of what it means to be brought together as a community.


Schools are closed for the foreseeable future. All parents can think about is how behind their child may get. Or where they can come up with the extra cash to provide meals for their children that they would’ve otherwise eaten at school.


School districts countywide have created a solution in no time at all. Every single school in Story County is offering grab-and-go meals to children under 18. Many schools are also offering breakfast along with bags of groceries. Visit our COVID-19 resources website for details about how each district are meeting needs.


With the food issue covered, Malai Amfahr, Story County Reads director at United Way of Story County, wanted to ensure that students had an opportunity to keep their minds engaged. Working together with the Ames Public Library to get 200-300 books distributed safely at each of the Ames school meal sites. On top of that, many teachers from different schools have created learning packets to provide equitable educational materials for students while the closures are in place.


Need more good news for your soul?


Alliant Energy has partnered with Iowa State University students to make and distribute protective equipment for medical professionals in Iowa. This lifesaving collaboration will produce face shields to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. ISU’s Computation and Construction Lab in the College of Design is using 3-D printers to do the work. Alliant Energy is funding the printing, donating the supplies and delivering the shields.


Volunteers are lifting up our community, getting necessary items to those in need. The Salvation Army’s food pantry served 58 families in the first three days of April with the help of volunteers. A mom and daughter duo said they loved helping out and will be back again next week to assist in distribution.


Teachers and community members are reading books on video platforms allowing kids at home to access great stories and interaction. Parades of school teachers have driven through neighborhoods, waving to their students with tears of joy in their eyes.


Knapp Tedesco donated handfuls of Fareway gift cards to United Way. The gift cards were delivered to local pantries, allowing them to buy essential items to keep their shelves stocked and ready for families.


Hundreds of community members have taken to sewing face masks for countless organizations in need. Shelters, clinics, doctors, grocery store workers and more have benefited from their generosity.


South Story Bank & Trust has recently donated to local area food pantries of Story County, including Huxley, Slater/Sheldahl, Cambridge and Ames. SSBT is doing what they can to help the communities in which they serve.


Anneke Mundel, our own community impact director, identified a need to support immigrants and refugees and convened a broad group of faith-based groups, immigrant-support groups and non-profits. Within a matter of days, this newly formed coalition, along with St. Cecilia Church as the clearinghouse, started a fund and identified how support would be made available. One week after announcing the fund, 17 applications have been received and more than $13,000 donated.


A group of Rotary members are deploying themselves into the community, gathering groceries, picking up prescriptions and running other errands for those with weakened immune systems.


Seniors from Gilbert High School are offering free babysitting services for those continuing to work.


We could go on and on with stories like these (And we will! Follow our Facebook page!). In times of crisis, we remember what is truly important. Coming together as one community is the best way we can LIVE UNITED throughout this uncertain time.