Group brings COVID-19 testing, food, rent assistance to underserved communities in Elizabeth City

North Carolina

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — As the coronavirus cases continue to spike and break record numbers in North Carolina, a group is bringing much-needed services to underserved communities in Elizabeth City.

United Providers of Health (UPOH) has collaborated with providers across the state to assist with COVID-19 testing, food, rent, and utility assistance. On Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the organization will be at the Mount Lebanon Church at 320 Culpepper Street in Elizabeth City to help residents.

The event is part of the “Community Day: People Helping People” series. In collaboration with River City CDC, residents can receive testing, along with access to care providers and peer support specialists who can meet with individuals who test positive for the disease.

Carolyn Mayo, a Founder of the UPOH says that people affected by COVID-19 may experience anxiety, depression, and even have thoughts of suicide.

“Primary and behavioral care providers and peer support specialists will be available for face-to-face assistance, and to follow up after-the-fact,” she says.

The group will also promote the Hope4NC 24-7 toll-free helpline (1-855-587-3463) for people to connect with peer support specialists.

In addition to medical assistance, a food truck will be available to give food to participants. Attendees also can request rental and utility assistance. Local government officials, as well as representatives from the police and fire departments, will also be available.

“We want to reach people who are in need in underserved, high poverty rural areas,” says Mayo. “Our goal is to reach as many underserved North Carolinians as possible to help lessen the negative impacts of COVID-19 on that community. We will continue to hold these community day events across the state through the end of the year.”

On Oct. 1, the North Carolina Department of Human and Health Services (NCDHHS) awarded a $7 million grant to UPOH to help mitigate hardships COVID-19 brings to marginalized communities across the state.

UPOH is a network of independent providers, including primary care physicians and mental and behavioral health providers who work with local CDCs, CACs, and CBOs to reach underserved communities in need of assistance.

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