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UPCAP honors direct care workers during COVID crisis

This week’s bouquets go to:

Since the COVID-19 crisis began much has been said and written about the heroism displayed by the front- line health care workers across the country. They truly deserve our thanks and admiration. But the often forgotten and underappreciated direct care workers (DCWs) also deserve that same thanks and recognition. Direct care workers are underpaid, hardworking, and extremely dedicated individuals that provide critical life sustaining essential services to the many older, frail and physically challenged individuals who want to remain in their own homes. During the COVID crisis, these workers have continued to serve the vulnerable, at-risk individuals in their homes, despite the risk and stress.

In recognition of the heroic work that direct care workers have performed before and during the COVID crisis, the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) is donating $150,000 to provide a $500 stipend to the 300 in home workers serving home bound MI Choice clients throughout the Upper Peninsula. Although this is a small token of appreciation, UPCAP, a regional charitable non-profit organization, is hopeful that additional State and Federal funding will soon be provided to local agencies to further reward in home workers for their efforts during the COVID crisis.

“The DCWs that work for local agencies who provide services to UPCAP’s Mi Choice clients deserve the upmost recognition and thanks particularly during this very challenging time,” according to Jonathan Mead, UPCAP president and CEO. Likewise, all direct care workers, whether they work for Community Mental Health agencies, home and health care agencies, and other human services providers deserve recognition and support. COVID-19 has exposed both the importance of direct care workers and the underlying systemic flaws in how we support these individuals. “On a daily basis, we’re witnessing what happens when workers, responsible for the care of our most vulnerable residents don’t have access to health and paid leave benefits, can’t afford essential services like child care, and lack quality training,” Mead stated.

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Each Saturday the Daily Press salutes individuals and groups from our area who have had a very positive impact on the way we live.

We identify our bouquet recipients in one of two ways: from Daily Press news pages and from nominations sent in by our readers.

Mail us a postcard or letter identifying your nomination and putting into detail what they’ve done. Include your name, address, and phone number. Send nominations to Saturday Bouquets, The Daily Press, 600 Ludington Street, Escanaba, MI 49829.

They may also be sent to us by going to our Web site, www.dailypress.net, and clicking on the submit news button. Once there, click on “Bouquets” and follow the simple instructions.

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