Like communities all across the world, Winona is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the health, economic, and emotional toll that the virus has brought with it present incredible challenges, the stories of local organizations and individuals going above and beyond to help their neighbors is uplifting to say the least.
Inspired by Twin Cities musician Mick Sterling’s 30 Days Foundation, Hurry Back Productions (HPB) is one such organization leading an initiative aimed at assisting those in need at this unprecedented time. The local non-profit, perhaps best known for their Highway 61 Concert Series at Winona’s St. Cecelia Theater, has unveiled a program designed to provide funds directly to families in the Winona area that are negatively impacted by the current crisis.
The program offers one-time financial grants to assist individuals and families who live or work in the Winona area and are in need of emergency funds. HBP will make payments directly to the service provider that needs payment, based on the specific request. Services such as rent/house payments, utility bills, medical bills, and grocery cards are all examples of what this program will assist with. Grants are expected to have a maximum value of $500 initially. The program is divided into two groups.
Group One is aimed at helping those affected by the school closures. HBP is welcoming requests from those who are experiencing a reduction in income as a result of the mandatory school closures. Grant recipients can include part time employees who were laid off due to school closure and also individuals who are now staying home with children and unable to work.
Group Two is aimed at helping those affected by the restaurant/bar/public accommodation closures that went into effect on March 17th . Group Two requests are encouraged from those with reduced or eliminated incomes as a result of the March 17th closures. One example includes employees of businesses no longer able to offer on-site food/beverage consumption whose income is affected by the new regulations. A second example includes artists and musicians relying on performances in theaters and other public venues as a main source of income, as well as employees of those venues.
Individuals and families from these groups who are experiencing unexpected expenses and budget strain are strongly encouraged to submit a request. As additional measures are announced to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, HBP will be opening up additional areas eligible for support.
HPB outlines that requests should be submitted only to “firstname.lastname@example.org”, and that all requests must be made in writing, using email, to ensure safety and tracking. These requests can be made by an individual seeking assistance or an advocate/agency on behalf of that individual. Requests should also include a brief description of how the individual or family have been affected and the assistance desired, and include a personal or professional reference (in order to verify the validity of each request).
Another amazing detail about this program is that HBP will attempt to assist anyone in the Winona area who reaches out to them. Assistance is subject to the order in which requests are received and available funds, therefore it should be noted that submitting a request does not necessarily guarantee assistance.
You can read more about Hurry Back Productions’ program here