Letter from CEO Michael Tukeva Regarding COVID-19

March 19, 2020

Coronavirus: What We Are Doing 

By Michael Tukeva, President & CEO, Pocono Mountains United Way

My grandfather once said, “There are two kinds of people, cowards and heroes. Cowards do nothing. Heroes do something.” I’ll return to this shortly.  

As an organization dedicated to the well-being of our community, we are closely watching the developments surrounding the spread and impact of COVID-19. We are creating a “new normal” with virtual meetingsremote accessand conference calls 

Just like many of you, Pocono Mountains United Way is working around the clock to provide our community with the necessary support to respond well to COVID-19. We have recently developed a website to share local resources and accurate information from CDC, WHO and the PA Department of Health. The page includes general information as well as information on the following:  

  • Food Access (Pantries, community meals and several restaurants that are offering free food) 
  • Utilities (PUC has issued a moratorium) 
  • Housing Assistance 
  • Case Management Support 
  • Healthcare Systems and their protocol 
  • Educational Resources for students 

It is important to note that we are not closed but working remotely. While we have suspended our public-facing programs, we will continue to serve the most vulnerable populations of our community. We are organizing response services, coordinating volunteer opportunities, scheduling regular touchpoints with those providing direct services, and strategizing with funders to support the efforts of our community.  


Returning to my grandfather’s comment. Now is the time to decide how you want to remember this time. Ask yourself, did you take the time to help others? Did you focus your energy on positive and healthy choices? Did you build community? Were you a hero that did something?  

Part of our preparations include mobilizing our community to bring support to those who are being directly or indirectly affected by the outbreak:  

  • Low-income families with children who go to schools that have been closed and have nowhere else to get their meals 
  • People whose hours are cut due to temporary closures and who will need assistance to stay in their homes 
  • People who are experiencing homelessness and who do not have the resources they need to stay safe 
  • Community college students who already face barriers as they try to finish their education 

As we explore the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19, we know that the livelihood of many can be threatened. We believe that our community is strong. That it is made of every-day-heroes. That together, we are stronger.  

If you can, please consider a contribution to the Crisis Response Fund.  

If you can volunteer, sign-up.  

If you can share, be generous.  

We are Together. More Than Ever.  




Here is the link: