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Want to help? Hotline created in N.M. to coordinate community resources in COVID-19 response

Stay-at-home orders make volunteering tough, but not impossible
Local organizations in San Juan County, New Mexico, have established a hotline for people wanting to help during the COVID-19 outbreak.

FARMINGTON – Area nonprofits and government organizations have partnered to create a hotline for people looking to help during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city of Farmington, San Juan College, San Juan County and San Juan United Way collectively established the WantToHelpLine after all of the organizations received multiple requests from community members wondering how they can help.

“We have an incredibly generous community that comes together in times of need,” Cathryn Abeyta, San Juan United Way director, said in a news release.

While the current stay-at-home order and the physical distancing requirements can make it hard to volunteer, the local organizations wanted to provide an easy and accessible list of how people can help.

“We saw that there were so many people who wanted to volunteer to help out, but under current conditions, traditional volunteering isn’t an option,” Abeyta said. “However, there are still areas of need where individuals can help.”

The helpline is a community effort. The telephone lines are staffed with San Juan College employees from its Volunteer Center, and a website is managed by someone from the city of Farmington, who will coordinate with San Juan County and San Juan United Way to identify and update the needs list.

KSJE-FM, San Juan College’s radio station, has also created a COVID-19 Community Information Program to connect people with specific needs related to the coronavirus outbreak with people who can help.

As of Wednesday, New Mexico had identified 363 positive cases of COVID-19, with 13,648 tests completed and six deaths. San Juan County had a total of 37 positive cases, the third highest in the state.

Some of the current needs identified by nonprofits in the area are blood donations, food donations, medical volunteers, foster families for animals, mask donations and people who can sew masks.

The helpline is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (505) 566-4210. The regularly updated list is also available at fmtn.org/TheWantToHelpLine.


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