United Way of the CSRA and the Community Foundation, have partnered to create a COVID-19 emergency response fund

CSRA News

EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — Nonprofit organizations could be overwhelmed with demands due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, help is on the way with a check worth $245,000 to be given to five local organizations to assist in everyday resources like food, housing support, and financial stability.

“These are all organizations that are leaning heavily in their missions,” said President & CEO United Way of the CSRA. “Brittany Burnett. “Some of them said we are not sure how we are going to fund this yet, but this is our mission, and this is the work we will do.”

United Way and The Community Foundation anticipate our region will continue to experience economic burdens in our area. This donation is the first of many grants that will focus on the immediate basic needs of financially vulnerable individuals and families.

“Even with The Salvation Army, they had to change part of the model of how they operate The Center of Hope,” said Burnett. “It’s an overnight shelter, and now it’s a 24-hour shelter. That’s very different work for them.”

The Golden Harvest Food Bank is one of the five organizations selected. They will receive $50,000 to provide meals for families. The executive director says that check couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We feed about 400,000 families a year, and that number is going to increase with this pandemic,” explained Amy Breitmann. “Even when the shelter in place is discontinued, the economic impact of this illness is unprecedented. We don’t know what the needs are going to be as far as unemployment and people who are newly needing food in our communities.”

Before the pandemic started, 51% of people in the river region were already living in poverty or considered “working poor.” The head of United Way says she expects more people to be relying on help for everyday needs if the pandemic lasts much longer.

“With many of them out of work, it becomes a larger issue,” said Burnett. “We know to keep our community safe and strong, we all have to come together to lift them. As well as lifting a whole new population of folks that never had a need before.”

Nonprofits in the community can submit applications through the United Way and The Community Foundation website.

The organizations announced $245,000 in initial grants will be directed to the
following organizations to assist their efforts:

  • The Salvation Army ($75,000) – Funding will support the conversion of the
    Center of Hope emergency shelter program from an overnight only shelter into a
    A 24-hour emergency shelter that aims to protect the homeless population from
    exposure to and spread of the virus, and provide safe shelter and food for
    approximately 120 men, women, and children. Funding will also help cover costs
    associated with moving and expanding the daily evening feeding program. This
    program is open to the public for dinner and is now at the Kroc Center.
  • Family Connection ($75,000) – This grant will primarily focus on bringing
    resources to rural counties. Due to COVID-19, Family Connection sites are
    receiving large numbers of requests for assistance with food, rent, utilities, and
    other supportive services. They are also helping families bridge the technology
    gap so children without access to the internet can continue to learn from their
    homes.
  • Golden Harvest Food Bank ($50,000) – Providing food in 25 counties across
    two states, Golden Harvest is working with food pantries, soup kitchens and
    school systems to meet the increased demand for food due to COVID-19.
    Funding will support the purchase of food to provide an additional 50,000 meals
    to residents in our communities who need it most.
  • Family YMCA of Greater Augusta ($25,000) – The Family Y is operating a
    childcare program that serves children of first responders and other essential
    personnel in the region who must continue to work. The grant will support the
    cost of providing free childcare at four Family Y locations. The grant will also help
    provide emergency meals for families in need.
  • Economic Opportunity Authority (EOA) ($20,000) – Funding will place families
    with children who are currently being sheltered at the Center for Hope in
    permanent housing and provide supportive services to stabilize their family
    situation and prevent future homelessness. Additional assistance will be directed
    toward several other families living in rural communities who are in danger of
    becoming homeless due to COVID-19.

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