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MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — Hundreds of you are in need of a little financial help right now, and local nonprofits and cities are stepping up to create funds. The Paducah-McCracken County United Way created a Necessities Grant Program.

The need is greater than the funds they have to help. Within eight hours after the grant application portal opened, 228 people applied for assistance, causing the local United Way to stop accepting Necessities Grant applications for now.

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"I'm seeing applications that are coming through from families that have never asked for help before," Executive Director Betsy Burkeen said. "Both mother and father of a family of four, for example, have been working for years, and they are finding themselves out of work with zero income for the first time in their lives."

Burkeen said the United Way of Paducah-McCracken County has approved 68 applications for grants. Each family will get a $250 or $500 Visa gift card, depending on the size of the family. In total, $23,500 will be given out later this week.

With 112 more applications to go through, they only about $2,000 left in the fund.

"I really need to feel confident that the financial support is there before we open the web page back up," Burkeen said. "What I don't want is to send false hope to our local community members."

Donating is a way to help your neighbors keep their lights on, pantries full, and other needs met. 

You can donate to the United Way of Paducah-McCracken County by texting "GIVE" to 77513. You can also mail your donation marked "COVID-19 Response Fund" to 333 Broadway Suite 502, Paducah, KY 42001.