The Bridging the Gap Fund, which has been created to support efforts in eviction prevention, food access and other mid- and long-term needs of those affected by the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, has been launched by the United Way of Central Maryland.

UWCM has worked for years in some of the communities anticipated to be most affected by this tragedy, including Brooklyn/Curtis Bay and Dundalk, which already face considerable obstacles.

Those affected by this event ― and anyone else in Maryland ― can call United Way’s free 211 Helpline, which directly connects calls to critical supportive resources and services. Call specialists speak multiple languages, including Spanish, and can direct callers to food, shelter and other urgent needs. 211 is available 24/7/365.

“We are united for our neighbors and our hearts are with the victims of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse,” said UWCM President and CEO Franklyn Baker. “As we’ve been working with our partners on the ground to understand what is needed, we are also taking into account our learnings from past disasters. What we know is that emergencies like this aren’t over in a day. They have far-reaching effects on the health and well-being of people, communities and our economy.”

In addition, United Way’s partner, Pro Bono Counseling Center, offers free mental health support. It can be reached at 410-598-0234 or www.probonocounseling.org/get-help-now/warmline.

For more information and/or to contribute, visit www.uwcm.org/KeyBridge.