A Mexico-based nonprofit since the middle of March is working to ensure county residents and businesses have support and are aided during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Uplift Mid-MO is a multi-denominational Christian nonprofit that is working directly with the Laura Miller George Help Center and local businesses and agencies to aid with food deliveries and distribution of essential items. Volunteers also are sewing fabric face masks for those organizations.

Since Help Center volunteers tend to skew older, Uplift Mid-MO volunteers have worked to supplement the center’s needs, Uplift Board President Kate Shaw said.

“We had about 25 or so people who stepped up and we coordinated to be able to send out on any delivery runs or things that were needed,” she said. “The group of volunteers we have are in the lower-risk category.”

Uplift keeps in regular contact with Help Center Director Phillip Iman to gauge what his needs are week to week. The Help Center moved to a curbside pick-up for its twice-weekly food distribution earlier this month.

Volunteers are able to pick up prescriptions, essential items such as food or hygiene items, or other important errands for those who are elderly — ages 65 and older — or disabled.

Uplift volunteers have sewn and distributed more than 100 face masks to businesses and agencies still open in Mexico and Audrain County.

Aiding The Help Center and making face masks is the focus right now for Uplift. It is a resource center to help those in poverty make connections with the organization’s business and church partners, as well as to provide essential household supplies, such as soap and shampoo. Uplift currently partners with Genesis Church, Victory Christian Fellowship and has worked with Refuge Ministries.

“This is not the norm of what we would do, but we just kind of saw the need and trying to fill it as best as possible,” Shaw said. “These are strange times so we have to be flexible and ready to help.”

A majority of the agencies Uplift has provided masks for are health care related, Shaw said. Uplift is unable to make masks for individuals since the demand is too high. Masks have been made for The Help Center and Arthur Center Community Health, among others. Uplift still is taking requests from businesses and agencies that need them. Shaw has an order of 30 ready to be distributed, she said.

“We have a list right now of places we are trying to fill. We are prioritizing Audrain County, right now,” she said. “The masks are a labor of love. They are not a quick thing to make.”

Audrain County businesses, individuals and nonprofits have really stepped up during this pandemic, Shaw said.

“When times are tough, you need places that are ready to fill the gap,” she said. “It’s not just us. Other [businesses] like Stacey’s Place have been doing tons of meals for seniors. Things like that stand out.”

Uplift was founded as a nonprofit in August to conduct local missions, evangelism and stewardship. Members from many different denominations started meeting in May and within three months the nonprofit was formed. Mexico’s poverty rate is at 18.5% and Uplift was formed to help those with the most need.

All of the The Mexico Ledger’s coronavirus coverage is being provided free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to The Mexico Ledger at https://www.mexicoledger.com/subscribenow. Help keep local businesses afloat at supportlocal.usatoday.com.