Author: fcrf

Relief Fund grant ensures Catholic Charities can continue crucial services

Food bank worker

By Melanie Cost, Jessie Ball duPont Fund

For more than 75 years, Catholic Charities of Jacksonville has provided for the basic needs of our vulnerable neighbors and assisted them on a journey toward self-sufficiency. Catholic Charities offers emergency financial assistance, workforce development, food assistance, immigration legal services, refugee resettlement and caring for people with intellectual and developmental differences. As the COVID-19 pandemic increases the needs of Catholic Charities’ clients, the organization is responding with ramped-up services, both in person and virtually.

Catholic Charities received one of the first grants from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund. The $50,000 grant is supporting the organization’s work to provide food, case management and emergency financial assistance to families in crisis throughout Jacksonville.

“Catholic Charities Jacksonville is grateful to partner with Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund to ensure the most vulnerable in our community can receive the critical help they need during these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lauren Weedon Hopkins, regional director of Catholic Charities Jacksonville.

Catholic Charities is continuing to operate its food pantry, located in a food desert in Northwest Jacksonville, with drive-through services, and is serving 60 families each day. The organization has also moved its ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) classes online to continue providing those services during this period of social distancing.

“Thanks to all the supporters of Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund for their generosity and confidence in our agency to mobilize quickly to serve,” Hopkins added. “As we learned from our Hurricane Irma experience, Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund provides essential funding at a crucial time so Catholic Charities can aid those most in need.”

Catholic Charities of Jacksonville is one of hundreds of local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 disruption. Grants like the one from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund are critical for nonprofits like Catholic Charities to continue offering their portfolio of services.

At this time, the Relief Fund has raised over $5 million and helped over 80 local nonprofits serving those disproportionally affected by COVID-19. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage. To make a gift to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, visit firstcoastrelieffund.org/donate.

Filed under: News, Success Stories

Relief Fund grant allows ElderSource to provide increased support to older adults

People in front of bus

By Melanie Cost, Jessie Ball duPont Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted older adults – they are not only more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, but also have seen their daily routines disrupted and are spending more time than ever alone. In response to the needs of our aging neighbors, ElderSource, the Northeast Florida regional agency on aging and our aging and disability resource center, has ramped up its outreach and is quickly adapting its services and resources to continue effectively supporting elders in this time of social distancing.

ElderSource received one of the first grants from the First Coast Relief Fund, $50,000 that is being used to support a variety of direct services for older adults across Nassau, Baker, Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties.
“While we are all working to physically distance from each other during this time, older adults are particularly being impacted by the prolonged social disconnect,” said Linda Levin, chief executive officer at ElderSource. “Being the population that is most impacted by COVID-19, older adults are not able to get to food and supplies because of frailty or lack of transportation or they stopped going out because they are taking the warnings as seriously as they should. There are also seniors who were working and depending on their income to get by and are now without their income as employers have reduced their workforce. Further, we are concerned about the impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing as a result of this increasing isolation.”

“With the resources provided by the First Coast Relief Fund we are able to help older adults with food, supplies, mental health counseling through telehealth, telephone reassurance and financial assistance,
said Levin. “This funding and the services we are able to provide as a result are lifesaving.”

ElderSource is particularly focused on connecting older adults to the resources they need for daily life, especially as simple routines such as grocery shopping have been interrupted by the risk of contracting COVID-19. In April, ElderSource partnered with Winn-Dixie to grocery shop and deliver the essentials for 25 seniors in Putman County. Local county service provider ElderOptions identified seniors in need and solicited their shopping lists, before representatives from ElderOptions joined members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Crescent City Police Department and the Putnam Board of County Commissioners to shop at Winn-Dixie at 6:00 a.m. before the store opened, and delivered the groceries later that day.

ElderSource staff also partnered with in-home senior care agency Aging True, supported by donations from Humana and Farm Share, to create take-away kits including toilet paper, paper towels, non-perishable food, other hygiene products, and a COVID-19 fact sheet. The team – some of whom drove from as far as Daytona Beach to support the effort – adhered to social distancing guidelines while packing and completed 1,000 kits in just one day.

“I want to thank the team for making the effort to be here, for showing up early to set up, for purchasing the supplies and coordinating with our partner Farm Share to deliver the toiletries, and for financial support from Humana in addition to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund and Jim Moran Foundation,” said Levin. “This was a true team effort, and 1,000 frail elders will benefit when Aging True delivers these kits along with their meals in the coming week.”

ElderSource is one of hundreds of local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 disruption. Grants like the one from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund are critical for nonprofits like ElderSource to continue offering their portfolio of services.

At this time, the Relief Fund has raised over $5 million and helped over 80 local nonprofits serving those disproportionally affected by COVID-19. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage. To make a gift to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, visit firstcoastrelieffund.org/donate.

Filed under: Success Stories

Relief Fund support allows Trinity Rescue Mission to increase capacity

Woman and child on bed

By Melanie Cost, Jessie Ball duPont Fund

For the more than 1,800 homeless men, women and children in Northeast Florida, the COVID-19 pandemic is making already difficult circumstances even harder.

Critical services from providers, including Trinity Rescue Mission, which is currently operating in four locations throughout Jacksonville and provides more than 110,000 shelter nights each year, are more in demand than ever.

Trinity Rescue Mission recently received one one of the first grants from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund. This grant is supporting Trinity Rescue Mission’s efforts to increase its services to support of our region’s homeless community in these even more trying time.

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund was created in 2016 to help nonprofit organizations serve individuals and families in need during a community crisis. To help those most affected by COVID-19 disruption, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, United Way of Northeast Florida and United Way of St. Johns County re-activated the Relief Fund March 16.

The Relief Fund is providing much-needed resources to struggling families by supporting local organizations, like JFCS, who deliver essential human services to residents disproportionately burdened by this public health crisis.

“The coronavirus has put an incredible stress on the homeless community and on those who help to serve them,” said Gary Judd, executive director of Trinity Rescue Mission. The organization is continuing to serve the more than 250 men, women and children who are regular residents of its shelters.

In response to the pandemic, Trinity Rescue Mission has increased its available services, including isolating the most vulnerable homeless population at a separate location. It has also taken extra recommended steps to help the homeless, including implementing social distancing, increasing already stringent hygiene guidelines, and increasing training for staff, volunteers and residents.

Trinity Rescue Mission is also actively collaborating with other providers in the city to meet the increasing overall needs of the homeless community.

These increased measures to protect the homeless community and Trinity Rescue Mission staff has increased direct expenses including staff time, transportation, food costs and supplies associated with the organization’s services.

“Trinity Rescue Mission has seen donations and other revenue streams become very vulnerable right now,” Judd said. “Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund’s generous gift has allowed people who are the most exposed and at risk in the city to be cared for during this time of uncertainty.”

Sam, one of Trinity Rescue Mission’s residents, echoed the appreciation.

“Thank you for allowing me to come here,” he said. “The coronavirus had me scared. Now, I feel safe and feel like I can finally rest.”

Trinity Rescue Mission is one of hundreds of local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 disruption. Grants like the one from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund are critical for nonprofits like Trinity Rescue Mission to continue offering services.

At this time, the Relief Fund has raised nearly $3 million and helped nearly 20 local nonprofits serving those disproportionally affected by COVID-19. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage. To make a gift to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, visit firstcoastrelieffund.org/donate.

Filed under: Success Stories

Relief Fund grant ensures local families get helping hand

group loading boxes with food

By Melanie Cost, Jessie Ball duPont Fund

For more than 100 years, Jewish Family & Community Services (JFCS) has supported Jacksonville neighbors with a variety of social and community services to enhance the lives of children, adults, seniors and families coping with challenges.

JFCS programs – available to anyone in the First Coast community – focus on child welfare, counseling, parenting, dropout prevention, emergency financial assistance and culturally responsive services for members of the Jewish community as well as direct support via a food pantry and children’s clothes closet. JFCS is a longstanding partner to many other nonprofits in Northeast Florida, including the United Way and Catholic Charities.

Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, JFCS remains committed to continuing to provide essential safety net services to families across the First Coast as needs rise in the face of changing employment and the impacts of social distancing.

JFCS is meeting the increased needs by providing counseling by teletherapy, continuing to operate its Max Block Food Pantry, coordinating food and transportation for isolated Holocaust Survivors, and offering other virtual services.

JFCS recently received a $50,000 grant from the First Coast Relief Fund to support direct financial assistance for families who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund was created in 2016 to help nonprofit organizations serve individuals and families in need during a community crisis. To help those most affected by COVID-19 disruption, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, United Way of Northeast Florida and United Way of St. Johns County re-activated the Relief Fund March 16.

The Relief Fund is providing much-needed resources to struggling families by supporting local organizations, like JFCS, who deliver essential human services to residents disproportionately burdened by this public health crisis.

“For so many families who are now facing unemployment, reduced hours at work, lost wages and tips, mounting bills to pay and scarcity of everyday resources, the resources available to Jewish Family & Community Services from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund are serving as a critical safety net,” said Colleen Rodriguez, chief executive officer of JFCS. “Families who were already at the tipping point before the pandemic are now living in survival mode. The assistance they receive through the grant from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund helps them have one less worry at the end of the day.”

A JFCS client whose wife is physically disabled echoed that sentiment after receiving financial assistance supported by Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund.

“Thank you so much for helping us,” the client said. “There’s no work for me now, but we still have bills to pay.”

JFCS is one of hundreds of local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 disruption. Grants like the one from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund are critical for nonprofits like JFCS to continue offering their portfolio of services.

At this time, the Relief Fund has raised nearly $3 million and helped nearly 20 local nonprofits serving those disproportionally affected by COVID-19. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage. To make a gift to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, visit firstcoastrelieffund.org/donate.

Filed under: Success Stories

Relief Fund helps BEAM continue critical food services

tow women filling relief bags

By Susan Datz Edelman, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

It’s more than the sand and sea that are off-limits near our shoreline — it’s also many of the already scarce resources for Beaches-area residents who struggle to make ends meet.

One of the most important safety net providers at the beach is BEAM, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. BEAM recently received one of the first grants from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, allowing BEAM staff to continue working tirelessly to help the food insecure in the Beaches communities.

Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund was created in 2016 to help nonprofit organizations serve individuals and families in need during a community crisis. To help those most affected by COVID-19 disruption, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, United Way of Northeast Florida and United Way of St. Johns County re-activated the Relief Fund March 16.

The Relief Fund is providing much-needed resources to struggling families by supporting local organizations, like BEAM, who deliver essential human services to residents disproportionately burdened by this public health crisis.

Among other services, BEAM operates two food pantries — one in Mayport and one in Jacksonville Beach. The pantries provide a combination of fresh produce and shelf-stable pantry items, a lifeline for even more residents than usual during COVID-19.

“It’s very hard to find food at the grocery store, especially items that are covered by WIC or SNAP benefits – it’s all drying up,” said Amanda, a BEAM client who came to the Finegan Mobile Pantry in Mayport to pick up food for her family.

“We are a military family with two small children,” she said. “My husband is deployed. I was laid off this week. I work as a hairdresser, and no one is coming in for appointments. I am so thankful for BEAM because I honestly don’t know where else to get food to feed my family right now. We are hanging in there, but COVID-19 has already put hard times on our family— we’re doing our best to stay calm, but it’s hard.”

BEAM is a community-based organization serving low-income residents in Jacksonville’s beaches communities and relies heavily on community support to assist their neighbors in time of need.  In just one week, BEAM provided 6,000 pounds of food in the form of pre-packaged groceries to BEAM food pantry clients.

“I am a single mother with an autistic son and newborn baby girl, and I lost my job last week. I was able to pick up diapers, baby formula, and food for my children,” said Elizabeth, a client of the Mayport pantry. “I am so thankful to BEAM. I have never been in this situation before and it’s scary. Thank you for helping me stay calm through all of this.”

Because of COVID-19, BEAM is no longer able to take in food donations from the public, so they must rely on grocery store partners for the food they are distributing. Grants like the one from Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund is critical to BEAM being able to continue to serve the community.

At this time, the Relief Fund has raised nearly $3 million and helped nearly 20 local nonprofits serving those disproportionally affected by COVID-19. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage. To make a gift to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, visit firstcoastrelieffund.org/donate.

Filed under: Success Stories

Clay County neighborhood helped by Relief Fund grant

Home with storm damage

Thanks to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, 21 agencies have received nearly $1.6 million to assist with disaster-relief resources as of Nov. 6, 2017. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage.

One of the grantees, Salvation Army Northeast Florida Area Command, received $100,000 in order to provide Hurricane Irma victims shelter and temporary housing; food, water and clothing resources; and home stabilization services, such as debris removal.

A Clay County neighborhood is one example of how those funds have been used. Briarwood Apartments in Middleburg experienced significant flooding from Black Creek waters. A large section of the complex was severely damaged, leaving many residents without food and shelter.

The Salvation Army was able to provide home stabilization services as well as temporary shelter and meals for those affected. As one couple wrote to the organization with gratitude, “Our neighbors know and experienced God’s love through the generous actions of Salvation Army.”

Thanks to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, Salvation Army has helped more than 104 households in Clay County with Irma-related needs. In addition, they’ve helped 208 households in Duval County. And the work is still underway.

For more information on the Salvation Army Northeast Florida Area Command, visit salvationarmyflorida.org/jacksonville.

Filed under: Success Stories

Relief Fund provides rent assistance to Beaches family

two people smiling in office setting

Thanks to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, 15 agencies have received nearly $1.3 million to assist with disaster-relief resources as of Oct. 13, 2017. More grants are pending. For timely updates, visit the Community Impact webpage.

One of the grantees, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry – also known as BEAM – received $48,000 in order to provide rent assistance and food resources to clients affected by Hurricane Irma.

Beaches resident George was recently referred to BEAM for financial assistance through United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral hotline.

George, his family and his apartment safely made it through Hurricane Irma. However, he and his wife both work hourly jobs, and the strong winds and storm surges affected their employers. George and his wife were not able to work for several days. No work meant no money coming in.

Thanks to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, BEAM was able to provide George and his family with rent assistance, which relieved them of the immediate financial burden as well as the possibility of further strain.

For more information on BEAM, visit jaxbeam.org.

Filed under: Success Stories