The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the Walla Walla Valley. This means for most of us doing things very differently in the weeks ahead.

Those fortunate to have work they can do from home are doing it. Those of us with reliable broadband and a smart phone are learning new technologies to stay connected to people we work with and care about.

These are trying times for us all.

For those in our Valley in need, the COVID-19 pandemic is especially troubling, both in terms of accessing necessary services and in taking those precautions that minimize catching and infecting others with a deadly virus.

If you’re in homelessness, without basic food and medicine, or reliant on others for care, the pandemic can be a very dangerous situation to be in.

This is a right here, right now problem, one that will likely get harder before it begins to improve. Our Valley’s nonprofit community is hard at work to address today’s need. And though we, like you, are unsure of what comes next, we’re sharing resources and planning so we can also be helpful in the weeks and months ahead.

It’s a good time to remember the outsized work our nonprofits accomplish in our Valley. We especially want to support the courage and sacrifice many local nonprofit workers are undertaking in this pandemic on behalf of all of us here.

The Walla Walla Valley nonprofit and charitable organizations continue to provide critical services and support for people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These groups are priceless sources of aid and assistance for our entire community, particularly for the most vulnerable: people newly unemployed, the homeless, hungry, isolated and afraid, families with young children, elderly people, those suffering with mental health issues, and the animals that have become abandoned as a result.

This is not a complete list. Local arts organizations are also suffering with canceled performances and closed venues, which in turn leaves many artists and musicians without paying work.

Nonprofits across the board are missing traditional fundraising events they need to support the good work they do. Donations are challenged as donors are in very different giving circumstances than they were even a month ago.

That means that many area nonprofit organizations are running on close to empty with many on the brink of shuttering essential programs and services. It’s a good time to help the helpers.

To help keep core services available, the Blue Mountain Community Foundation has created a Walla Walla Valley COVID-19 Response Fund to support those nonprofits on the front lines of this crisis. We urge you to donate to this fund — bit.ly/346n86z — or to give generously to the local nonprofits and charities about which you care the most.

The Walla Walla Valley COVID-19 Response Fund is being advised by a committee of community stakeholders. It has identified three priorities as of now: Food, Shelter and Health/Mental Health.

We’re also paying close attention to state and national initiatives meant to help ease the impact of this pandemic.

The CARES Act signed into law March 28 includes provisions to encourage more charitable giving this year. For more information about these changes please consult your tax advisor, and watch for informational updates at bluemountainfoundation.org and ymca.org. We’re hopeful this encourages needed donations.

You can also donate to specific charitable and nonprofit organizations through either BMCF atbluemountainfoundation.org or United Way of the Blue Mountains at uwbluemt.org by identifying the charity on your gift. Neither BMCF nor United Way charge for these pass-through gifts which may be directed to organizations tax exempt as 501(c)(3) charities.

We’re fortunate to have a robust and resilient group of nonprofits who work every day to improve lives and livelihoods here. It’s time for us now to help these helpers continue to make that crucial difference.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that impacts all of us. We encourage you to donate now to the specific Walla Walla Valley COVID-19 fund or to the organization of your choice, either directly or through BMCF or United Way.

Kari Isaacson is executive director of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation

Karen Hedine CEO of the Walla Walla Valley YMCA

Brian Hunt is CEO of Sherwood Trust