7th Round CERF Grants

Williamsburg Community Foundation recently awarded $25,000 in grants from the Community Emergency Response Fund, which was established last year to support basic needs such as food and shelter, resulting from the pandemic. This is the 7th round of grants awarded from this fund.

The Arc of Greater Williamsburg will use their $5,000 grant to support their day program, Arc of Abilities, held both online and in-person at the Abram Fink Jr. Community Center. The program provides continuing education, vocational and life skills training to adults with intellectual disabilities, and currently operates on a split schedule to accommodate COVID-related restrictions for safe distancing. Executive Director Pam McGregor explains, “The mental health impact of COVID-19 has been felt by many and The Arc is acutely aware that adults with disabilities and their caregivers have shouldered this pandemic courageously and with resolve. The day program provides these families with a resource that directly impacts the mental health of our clients and caregivers.”

FISH, Inc. will use their $5,000 grant to provide food and clothing to people in need. An all-volunteer organization, FISH has adapted its services to allow clients to receive food weekly rather than monthly (22% of clients come more than once/month). They have also begun distributing Food Lion giftcards to supplement pantry food, and laundromat gift cards for those who need them. The grant will help purchase these gift cards, along with certain foods and new children’s socks/underwear, items that FISH does not typically receive as donations from the public. From January to mid-March, FISH fed 1,131 people in our community.

Rx Drug Access Partnership will use their $2,500 grant to purchase generic medications for Olde Towne Medical and Dental Center, serving low-income residents in our area. This grant will benefit approximately 300 uninsured individuals. Rx Drug Access Partnership provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in free generic medication directly to Olde Towne Medical each year.

The Salvation Army Williamsburg Corps will use their $5,000 grant to assist low-income individuals and families in the Transitional Shelter program, which currently provides safe housing at seven area apartments. Staff report a continued need for help due to loss of wages resulting from the pandemic. The grant will help cover the cost of childcare so that parents can get back to work, as well as deposits and first month’s rent for families moving into their own apartments. Lastly, Salvation Army will purchase food, diapers and household items for Transitional Housing clients. This will allow individuals and families to save in order to become self-sufficient. Currently most of the Transition Housing clients are female, and many families include one or more children.

Williamsburg Faith in Action will use their $2,500 to expand their food assistance program to include delivery of frozen meals for needy seniors. “With more and more seniors calling motels their homes, we ran into a new problem with food assistance that the pandemic pushed to the forefront,” said Vince Ferrara, Executive Director of Williamsburg Faith in Action. “Most of the food distributed from local pantries requires stove top preparation. After talking with these clients, we recognized that obtaining the food they needed wasn’t always possible for those who live in a motel and only have access to a microwave. In addition, many who did live in their own homes were unable to physically cook for themselves or afford the food they needed.” This program will ensure that seniors have access to hot, easily prepared food, regardless of their ability to pay or get out to the store.

Williamsburg House of Mercy will use their $5,000 grant to support their drive-thru food pantry (also includes toiletries, diapers, and other supplies), and Community Kitchen meals. The grant will also pay for rent and utilities assistance, and support the Bridge to Home Shelter Program to stabilize and begin case management for homeless individuals and families. Funds will also help homeless and underserved populations get transportation to their COVID vaccines and other medical appointments. House of Mercy clients are at least 150% below the federal poverty level (or $39,750 for a family of four).

How to Apply for a Grant

The Foundation typically awards competitive grants twice a year. The next opportunity to apply for funding is for summer 2021, with a deadline of June 16, 2021. All application materials and guidelines can be found at WilliamsburgCommunityFoundation.org; click “Receive” then “Apply for a Grant.” If the organization has never received a grant from WCF, they should contact the foundation office for guidance before beginning a new application. Contact Nancy Sullivan, Executive Director, at 757-259-1660 or email ncsullivan@williamsburgcommunityfoundation.org.