Emergency Grants Help Local Residents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Emergency Grants from Williamsburg Community Foundation to help local residents impacted by COVID-19; $24,360 distributed in first round of grants 

April 16, 2020, Williamsburg, Va. – As part of a community-wide effort, six local nonprofits will receive emergency funding to provide direct relief to those impacted by the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19. 3e Restoration, Avalon Center, Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula, Grove Christian Outreach Center, Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels and Williamsburg House of Mercy will each receive a grant to assist local residents who have lost income due to the pandemic and who are in need of help with basic needs such as food, shelter or transportation. 

As many individuals wait for their government stimulus checks, there are still bills to pay, and local organizations have seen an unprecedented spike in demand for services.  Williamsburg House of Mercy reported serving 1,789 individuals in just 9 days; some days they have 20 times as many families as they normally would. 

“We intend to use these grant funds to purchase more food, diapers, feminine hygiene items, toiletries, and food distribution supplies (paper and plastic bags, etc.), to keep our drive-thru food pantry and Community Kitchen running for as long as necessary in this emergency mode,” said House of Mercy spokeswoman Nicole Lancour. “We are also committed to journeying with these families after quarantine is lifted and they face food insecurity, financial crisis, and struggle to regain stability.” 

Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels has responded to the call to provide meals to 100 children per week who live in motels, since these families may lack transportation to pick up school lunches from the school system. Grant funds will be used to continue providing nutritious meals to these children, including meals to cover the weekend.  Virginia Peninsula Foodbank will use its emergency grant to provide 375 boxes of food at a Williamsburg area drive-through food distribution, as well as over 200 backpacks of food for low-income families with children.  3e Restoration will be able to provide safe shelter and services to homeless individuals who are unable to move to permanent housing due to the virus. Grove Christian Outreach has also seen an increase in clients requesting food; at the end of last month, they helped 46 families who had never come in for food before. Grove will use their grant to cover the cost of the increased demand for food. Lastly, Avalon Center has seen a marked increase in calls to their domestic violence hotline as people already living in volatile or abusive relationships struggle with loss of financial stability along with shelter-in-place restrictions. Avalon will also continue to serve the families who live at their shelter, including many children who are out of school. 

Community Emergency Response Fund for COVID-19 

Kickstarted on March 12 by City of Williamsburg Council Members Benny Zhang and Doug Pons, the Community Emergency Response Fund now has over $100,000 thanks to the generosity of over 75 local donors.  Williamsburg Community Foundation is working closely with local nonprofit and government leaders to ensure that these funds are efficiently deployed as grants to those groups who can provide direct services and financial assistance to those most affected, including food, shelter and transportation.  

The Foundation plans to distribute the next round of grants in mid-May, and applicants will be invited to apply using a streamlined process to ensure the funds will be used to help local residents as soon as possible. Community volunteers on the Foundation’s Distribution Committee evaluate requests for grant funding and determine recipients. For those interested in applying for other types of grants, not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the next grant deadline will be June 17, 2020. Details can be found at WilliamsburgCommunityFoundation.org, or call the office with questions at 757-259-1660 or email office@williamsburgcommunityfoundation.org

To make a contribution to the Community Emergency Response Fund, give online at WilliamsburgCommunityFoundation.org or send a gift to Williamsburg Community Foundation, 1323 Jamestown Road, Suite 103, Williamsburg, VA 23185. 

Background:  

Established in 1999, 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. 

Contact: 

Ginny Gasink, Williamsburg Community Foundation 

1323 Jamestown Road, Suite 103, Williamsburg, VA 23185 

757-259-1660 |   vgasink@williamsburgcommunityfoundation.org