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Laurels: More progress to make on Census response

Laurel to census tract 518.02, in western Rowan County, for having a 2020 Census response rate well above state and local averages.

The tract, starts outside of China Grove and goes west to the county line while staying mostly between Mooresville Road and N.C. 152. It includes places like Millbridge Road, Bradshaw Road, Corriher Grange Road, Weaver Road and Brown Road. The area’s Census response rate of 69.2% is well above Rowan County’s average of 60.8% and North Carolina’s 58.2%.

There’s still work to do in areas such as the eastern tip of Rowan County, downtown, the North Main neighborhood, East Spencer and the West End — all of which are in Census tracts with response rates lower than 50% and, in some cases, lower than 40%.

It is critical that community leaders, whether they’re elected or just well-respected in their neighborhood, encourage others to complete the Census, which provides data that determines representation in Congress, informs federal funding decisions and affects communities for the next decade. Census data informs federal funding for items like school lunches, highway construction, Medicaid and dozens of other programs.

By now, people should have received an invitation in the mail to respond. Even if not, its still possible to respond online by visiting my2020census.gov. People can also call the U.S. Census Bureau for support at 844-330-2020 for English or 844-468-2020 for Spanish.

The Census also announced that in late July it will begin following up with households that have not yet responded in specific areas, none of which are in Rowan County. The majority of census offices across the country will begin follow-up work on Aug. 11.

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, but it only takes several minutes to respond to the U.S. Census and help our community.

Laurel to Meals on Wheels and other nonprofit agencies whose services are more critical than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Meals on Wheels, that’s particularly true because it serves homebound seniors, who may be at higher risk for a severe case of the coronavirus-caused disease. Realizing that fact, it requested and received funding from the Rowan County United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to deliver groceries. And so far, it has helped 408 individuals as part of the grocery delivery project. It also partnered with Rowan Helping Ministries to deliver U.S. Department of Agriculture food boxes to those who qualify.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Rowan County will need continued collaboration and innovation among nonprofit agencies to mitigate the risk for those who have the greatest chance of contracting a severe case.

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