There are several ways to give and receive help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, United Way officials announced the creation of a COVID-19 response fund.

United Way of Central Oklahoma President Debby Hampton has responded to natural disasters for years, and said this pandemic is just as much an emergency for many people.

“This fund is a way they can help those that might not be as fortunate to be able to stay home and still receive a paycheck. Those are the folks our agency supports every single day,” Hampton said.

Hampton said the fund charges no special fees, and the donations go to the dozens of nonprofits United Way Works with.

Among those partner nonprofits is Heartline, a special generalized help line accessible by dialing 2-1-1.

“We have seen an increase in the calls. We are tracking specifically if they’re calling specifically for the COVID-19 virus, and we’ve had I think close to 100 additional calls in reference to this,” Heartline Executive Director Margi Preston said.

Preston encourages anyone facing financial, emotional or mental despair to call 2-1-1.

For verifying charities when considering donations, Hampton recommends checking with the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator.