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Originally helping people with natural disasters like flooding and tornadoes, Show-Me Hope Missouri is now adding COVID-19 to the list of issues it provide resources for. 

From losing jobs to losing loved ones, this pandemic has taken a toll on people and the Show-Me Hope program is working to help connect them to the resources they need. There is a Crisis Counseling Program that offers free individual or group counseling to people dealing with a disaster. One of the people who assists is Program Manager Mallory Rowe. 

“The overall purpose is to reach out to those that were impacted by a disaster and connect them with any resources they may need to recover,” Rowe said. “This time the disaster is COVID-19. Also, we help with stress management skills, resiliency skills and possible referral to any other service they may need.”

The program in northwest Missouri assists nine counties: Buchanan, Andrew, Nodaway, Atichson, Holt, Worth, Gentry, DeKalb and Clinton. Anyone in these counties can be connected to resources in their surrounding communities.

Rowe said this program is federally funded through the Missouri Department of Mental Health. This funding allows the program to help provide resources it otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. 

“It allows us to have our crisis counselors and provide completely free services to everyone,” Rowe said. “We don’t collect any information. The only information we would collect from you is to be able to meet with you and follow up.”

According to the Show-Me Hope Facebook, it has food drives, flu clinics, resources to help with mental health, tips to stay safe from COVID-19 and more depending on what a person or community needs. 

Rowe said that people are generally not prepared for the losses that come from going through a disaster, and that’s one of the reasons this program exists. The Crisis Counseling program helps people find anything they need for any type of hardship they are facing. 

During the spring of 2019, Team Lead of the Crisis Counseling program Ashley VanGundy worked to help those who were impacted by the flooding. She said the team helped people with rent, utilities, water damage and many other resources. 

“Our program doesn’t have money to assist those survivors, but our program helps them find those who do,” VanGundy said. “We are kind of like the middleman. We work closely with Catholic churches during the flooding because they did have a grant for that.”

Now that the program has added COVID-19 to the list of disasters it can provide resources for, Rowe said there has been a lot of help needed for stress management. On top of mental health, there are other resources it can provide.

“Just being able to listen to people makes a huge difference,” Vangundy said. “You never know what people are going through. You don’t know how COVID-19 is affecting them. Some people have lost their jobs; some people haven’t. Day childcare closed. Everyone is affected in a different way. Just being able to listen to people and their needs and try to help them is No. 1.”

To be connected to help, there’s a 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-888-279-8188. To find a local resource, you can call 816-646-8043 or visit the Show-Me Hope Northwest Missouri Facebook page.

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