Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Another round of emergency grants coming to five local nonprofits

The Williamsburg House of Mercy's pantry carries much more than just food. (WYDaily file)
The Williamsburg House of Mercy’s pantry carries much more than just food. (WYDaily file)

The Williamsburg Community Foundation this week announced an upcoming fourth round of emergency grants for local nonprofits.

This time, a total of $25,000 will be allocated to five organizations to continue the goal of providing basic needs like food and shelter, as well as financial support to community members disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, according to a news release from the foundation.

The grants come from the Community Emergency Response Fund, with contributions from the Benjamin R. Altshuler Memorial Fund, which aims to improve the accessibility of public transportation, and the Genevieve K. Meder Fund, which aims to aid community members who are struggling due to circumstances completely out of their control, such as a pandemic or disaster.

Recipients for this series of endowments include the following food- and shelter-focused organizations:

  • The Avalon Center, which houses survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and provides prevention education and other support services in the Peninsula. Their funding will go toward shelter services, including hotel and rental assistance, as well as health and safety measures such as updated cleaning and sanitation protocol. This grant will also help Avalon Center maintain critical support services like case management, counseling, legal and medical advocacy, general transportation, and more.
  • The Community of Faith Mission, which operates as the only emergency winter shelter in the greater Williamsburg area by coordinating with local churches to support those without access to warmth or shelter as it gets colder in the coming weeks. The pandemic has severely limited the number of churches that are adequately large enough to safely house everyone who needs shelter, so to innovate, COFM is using their funding to pay for motel rooms for individuals. This will be extremely helpful in combating the escalating unemployment and housing crises as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
  • The Williamsburg area Meals on Wheels chapter, who has been diligently keeping up with the demand for meals as the need continues to rise. This grant will ensure their daily ability to deliver more than 300 meals at high-need locations like shelters, isolation and quarantine sites, Section 8 housing, and motels and emergency response facilities for those in housing crisis. This lines up nicely with the Community of Faith Mission goals and objectives, and demonstrates the strong inter-connectivity of the recipients of these grants.
  • The Williamsburg area Salvation Army chapter, which has been purchasing food, cleaning and sanitation products, and gas cards for those in need. This grant is to ensure they can meet all of their emergency assistance requests, which are 60% higher than they were in 2019: almost 1,000 of the more than 7,000 Williamsburg-area community members who have requested aid since March of this year are first-time applicants, indicating an ongoing rise in need for basic necessities.
  • The Williamsburg House of Mercy, who will apply their grant funding toward procuring food and supplies for their Drive-Thru Food Pantry and Community Kitchen carryout meals. They also intend to locate and secure stable housing and shelter arrangements for people displaced by the pandemic with their funds, as even their conservative estimates show a general need of about $6,000 per household. 

As made clear by their mission statement, the Williamsburg Community Foundation enhances the quality of life in greater Williamsburg by connecting people with causes that matter, managing charitable funds, and providing grants and scholarships for our community’s most pressing needs and promising opportunities.

The CERF falls directly within those parameters by partnering with and connecting people to charitable and nonprofit organizations in the area, and actively works toward ensuring the basic needs of the community are met throughout pandemic.

Another round of grants is slated to be awarded to Peninsula nonprofits before the end of the year.

To learn more, donate, or get involved, visit the Community Emergency Response Fund webpage. You can also send a gift to the foundation at 1323 Jamestown Road, Suite 103, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

To learn about deadlines and the application process for a grant from the Williamsburg Community Foundation, visit the application information page, call 757-259-1660, or email office@williamsburgcommunityfoundation.org.

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