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Donation helps Pike County Unmet Needs aid families during pandemic

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Even in small rural Tri-State counties, the need to help families impacted by job losses and furloughs is high.

That's why with the help of a donation, one organization is stepping up to help.

Chris Bruns runs the Pike County Housing Authority where he helps all of his residents on a daily basis.

However, about ten years ago, he decided that everyone in the Pike County community needs help.

"Whether it's needing to help a public housing tenant or a citizen in the community, there's no limit to who we can help, so we're trying to help as many people as we can," Bruns said.

This help is made possible through Pike County Unmet Needs, a charitable organization formed to assist individuals and families with unexpected needs.

"Most of our requests are rent related, security deposits, utilities, electric, water sewer, and things of that nature," Bruns said.

Bruns is the Pike County Unmet Needs chairman and said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand keeps growing.

"What we're going through right now, it's a short term hit for everybody," Bruns said.

"Needs are immediate in a lot of cases"

Due to a 20,000 dollar donation from the Community Foundation, Bruns said they'll be able to meet the high demand during this tough time.

"Last year alone, we had from the year before to the last year, we had an increase of over 10,000 dollars in our expenses for our cases," Bruns said.

"With the pandemic, we're expecting to a blowup beyond that."

Bruns said if you're seeking help, there are caseworkers at a number of locations throughout the county that will help you, including the First Christian Church in Pittsfield.

"We've been gracious and thankful enough for the support behind the program to meet those needs as they arise," Bruns said.

Bruns said they evaluate the needs and try to get the funds to people as soon as possible.

If you are seeking help, here is a list of caseworkers, phone numbers, and locations:

Carla Allen at Pike County General Assistance in Pittsfield, 217-285-2726.

Helen Earls at First Christian Church in Pittsfield, 217-285-4129.

Chris Bruns at Pike County Housing Authority in Barry, 217-407-0707.

Connie Lerch at Findley Place Apartments in Pittsfield, 217-285-6150.

Leslie Henry at Illini Community Hospital in Pittsfield, 217-285-2113 ext. 3277.

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