The STEP UP Vermilion County leadership group has announced a program to support local businesses, food and hygiene pantries along with offering mental health support. The STEP UP Challenge runs now through the end of May focusing on three areas:

- Step Up and Round Up: Right now many local businesses are struggling to stay open. For many, this is their livelihood, and we love what their businesses bring to our community. Visit a local business and round up when you pay to show your support. This might be a dollar or two, or two hundred dollars. Give what you can to show that you care!

- Support Local Food and Hygiene Pantries: The cost of food is rising. Food pantries are serving hundreds of families each month and with unemployment rates and the bogged down IDES system, many are going without funds for several weeks or months. If you are able, pick up some extra food or hygiene products at the grocery store and take them to a local pantry in your area to help fill the gap.

-Offer Mental Health Support: Many people are isolated and discouraged. Depression, anxiety, domestic violence, and suicide rates are on the rise. Do something to show that you care. Some examples include putting hearts in your windows, posting You Matter signs in your yard, schedule a Zoom call with someone you love, send cards to a local nursing home, etc. Do something to cheer up someone else.

Once you have your picture, community members are being encouraged to post it to their timeline on Facebook and tag STEP UP by using @StepUpVermilion in your post, and also use the hashtag #stepupchallenge.

For more information contact Deanna Witzel @ Deanna.witzel@partners.mcd.com