United Way offers meal and mental health assistance in one delivery

What do you get when you combine the holidays with the pandemic? An extra portion of stress —  but luckily, a Maryland charity has teamed up with local businesses to alleviate one Baltimore neighborhood’s mounting anxiety.

The holidays have traditionally always been the most stressful time of the year.

Now the United Way of Central Maryland is noticing that the combination of COVID-19 and the arrival of the holiday season are piling on an extra heaping of stress.

“There are so many things coming at folks right now: The stress of the pandemic, normal life, balancing child care or lack of child care, work responsibilities and so many other pieces,” said Judy Poey, health program officer with the United Way of Central Maryland.

“We know that often times, folks have additional stressors in relation to the holiday season — and, particularly this holiday season, you can imagine these factors are compounded,” she said, “Across the board, people are reporting they are more anxious and more depressed, and cases have been increasing.”

In addition to delivering food items to families who need them in Baltimore’s Poppleton community this week, it’s added stress relief kits to its deliveries.

The kits include coloring books, stress balls and information on how to call the Pro Bono Counseling Project hotline, which is provided in collaboration with the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline, to support Marylanders experiencing mental health issues.

“So many things are piling up on them. Sometimes you don’t know where to turn.
Sometimes all you need is someone to talk to,” said Poey, “You’re home by yourself, isolated and just knowing that there’s someone there and that there’s support available and a listening ear.”

United Way Teamed up with DoorDash and Holly Poultry to make 200 deliveries of chickens and stress management kits to area families.

Those who are feeling anxious, depressed, or in need of someone to talk to are encouraged to call 211 or dial 443-608-9182 directly to be connected with a representative who can provide support.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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