Lake Area United Way Provides $250,000 in COVID-19 Relief for Displaced Hospitality Workers

Lake Area United Way is providing $250,000 specifically to help hospitality workers in Lake County Indiana, who are not working due to COVID-19, to assist with rent or mortgage, utilities, gasoline, or groceries.

Lake Area United Way is partnering with Speros Batistatos, President & CEO of South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority to get the assistance opportunity communicated to hospitality workers who have been most impacted. In addition, we are partnering with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary, to facilitate the disbursement of the COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Funds to displaced hospitality workers.

“From the very start of this crisis locally, Speros Batistatos has been advocating for the 14,000 Lake County families who have made their living in hospitality. We are worried about the time it’s going to take to get federal funds in the hands of these families who need it right now and will need more than what the stimulus package is providing,” says Lisa Daugherty, President and CEO of Lake Area United Way.

“The impacts, both short and long term, of the COVID-19 pandemic have created an economic crisis for the travel industry nationwide; the South Shore is no exception. Our restaurants, hotels, casinos, attractions – their owners and employees are all in need. We are grateful to the United Way for recognizing the need and providing the support to those who work in the local hospitality industry,” said Speros A. Batistatos, President/CEO of the South Shore CVA. He continued, “families should not have to choose their rent over groceries or their utilities. This additional money can help keep South Shore families afloat during these unprecedented times and we are hopeful we can secure more donations to help more families in need.”

Lake County families can immediately apply through Catholic Charities in Lake County by calling 219-886-3549, Option 2, or 219-689-8426. Families can also apply by sending an email to Hours may be limited this week due to Good Friday and Easter.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact our community, Catholic Charities staff have been in the field providing compassionate, competent and professional services that strengthen and support individuals, families, and communities in Northwest Indiana affected by this pandemic,” said Terry Seljan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary. “During these uncertain times, Catholic Charities is taking every recommended safety precaution to keep clients and staff healthy with limited personal exposure, while still meeting them right where they are with the help they need, creating hope for a brighter future, regardless of their religious or ethnic background. Visit to view Catholic Charities’ COVID-19 response services.”

This funding is made possible through Lake Area United Way’s COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund to support families struggling to make ends meet due to the effects of the pandemic. You can contribute online at

Lake Area United Way mobilizes the caring power of the community to help struggling, working families attain financial stability by (1) helping people access livable wage jobs, (2) supporting quality, affordable child care
strategies that help working parents, and (3) funding providers who offer basic needs support for vulnerable, working families.