Salina Area United Way grant supports children, families during pandemic

April 2020 · Ministry News, Press Releases

Saint Francis Ministries to use grant to help foster, kinship families affected by COVID-19

SALINA – April 14, 2020 – A $1,000 grant to Saint Francis Ministries from the Salina Area United Way is helping the organization’s efforts to provide needed dollars and support to foster and kinship families being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic is having a significant impact on families around the world, and it is certainly affecting many of the foster care and kinship families that Saint Francis serves.

Kansas youth are out of school for the remainder of the year, and families with tight budgets are seeing higher food costs even as they also may be losing hours at work or be out of work altogether, said The Very Rev. Robert N. Smith, dean, president and CEO of Saint Francis.


“We are appreciative of the Salina Area United Way for having such a strong understanding of what situations like this mean for vulnerable families and for stepping forward to meet critical needs in our community,” he said. “This $1,000 grant will be used to support kinship caregivers and foster families who are challenged by additional expenses because of the coronavirus effects.”

Kinship families that Saint Francis serves are often older relatives, and they frequently are on a limited income that doesn’t allow for fluctuations in demand on their resources, Smith said. Foster and kinship families may not have the resources to transport students to receive free meals being offered by community resources or they may be quarantined and unable to go out.

Saint Francis has been providing these families and caregivers with grocery gift cards and other funding to help them not just with food, but to alleviate the stress and anxiety this situation may be causing.

This grant was provided by the Salina Area United Way as part of its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The fund was set up to support local nonprofits that are providing relief and immediate aid to people affected by the pandemic.

“One of the things we know in child welfare is that for long-term changes to occur and for us to change the stories of the youth and families we serve, we must have the support of communities,” Smith said. “We are grateful to be headquartered in Salina, where we regularly see action being taken to help others.”


Point of Contact:

Morgan Rothenberger, Director of Marketing & Communications

785.488.6947 |

About Saint Francis Ministries

Saint Francis Ministries encompasses foster care, therapeutic foster care, adoption, family preservation, residential care, and community outreach services, as well as refugee resettlement services through Saint Francis Migration Ministries.

Founded in 1945 in Ellsworth, Kansas, the organization now serves more than 30,000 individuals through child and family welfare services in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, and Central America. Additionally, Saint Francis provides supervised living and employment services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Mississippi. The organization is headquartered in Salina, Kansas.