CFCC awards nonprofits emergency relief grants
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
Within days of announcing it had established a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, the Community Foundation of Crawford County began receiving grant applications. Five grants, totaling $12,016.25, were awarded in the most recent cycle.
On June 18, checks were delivered to three of the five nonprofits.
GRACE (Giving Recovery A Chance Everyday) House had just found out the structure that houses the recovery center for women needed state-mandated repairs when COVID-19 hit. GRACE House depends on fund-raising efforts to sustain its services and the need was greater with the pending repairs.
All fund-raising efforts had to be put on hold. However, the funding need remains; the state is holding the center to the repair deadline it set prior to the pandemic.
Amber Poe, director of GRACE House, said the grant funds will be used to help fund the fire alarm updates and help the home comply with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements.
“We don’t want to lose this resource in the community,” said Christine Harbeson, CFCC executive director. “This is so important to families of Crawford County.”
Two community food pantries will be better able to meet the needs of clients, thanks to their grants.
Lincoln Hills United Methodist Church Food Pantry and the English Wesleyan Food Pantry will use their grants to purchase refrigerators, allowing them to provide more healthy produce and dairy products.
Kay Ellis, a volunteer at the Lincoln Hills UMC Food Pantry, said milk and eggs were available on a recent Dare to Care order form but the pantry couldn’t order them because they had no way to keep them fresh.
In April and May, the food pantry served double the number of clients compared to last year, an increase organizers said is a direct result of the effect of the pandemic on residents.
“There’s a lot of people out of work,” said Ellis.
Organizers said there were a lot of first-time clients during those two months.
Roger Dillman organizes the food pantry at English Wesleyan Church. The pantry was started three years ago and initially served 75 people every two weeks.
“The number of people we are able to assist has grown at a rapid rate,” said Dillman. “We were able to help over 1,100 people during January.”
Then, the pandemic hit and the need sharply increased.
“We helped over 2,100 people during April,” Dillman said.
At times, the English Food Pantry volunteers have turned down donations of meat and perishable foods because of a lack of storage.
“Hopefully, that will never happen again because of the generosity of donors like the community foundation,” Dillman said.
The pantry now has a new 72-cubic foot reach-in freezer.
The Crawford County Historical Society received a grant to benefit the Proctor House near Marengo. Board member Bill Piper said the grant was desperately needed as fund-raising efforts have been stymied by the pandemic.
“The springtime and early summer typically bring in a lot of donations and book sales as out-of-town visitors come through the area to do research,” he said. “When they do, they donate toward our organization.”
The historical society is headquartered in English.
“We run two buildings, and the bills on both were still coming in despite no income,” said Piper. “It started to drain our account quickly.”
Piper said the grant will help, specifically with the Proctor House’s two highest bills, insurance and security.
“Being a non-profit organization, we survive on donations and book sales, so when we have no visitors, it can cripple us financially,” he said.
Plans are to open the Proctor House this month; board members are currently working on a schedule.
The fifth grant was awarded to Blue River Services Inc. The funding will be used for increased safety measures, including the purchase of personal protective equipment.
Fraime said the foundation has had three additional grant requests from local nonprofits. The CFCC hopes to apply for additional funding from Metro United Way to meet those needs.
For more information, call the foundation at 812-365-2900.