July 1, 2020, Williamsburg, Va. – The Williamsburg Community Foundation has awarded $15,000 in emergency grants to three local nonprofit organizations in its third round of grants from the Community Emergency Response Fund. The community has raised over $190,000 for this fund so far, and from that amount a total of $72,600 in grants has been distributed.
This round, each organization will receive a $5,000 grant to assist in operations related to COVID-19 relief, such as providing food, housing, and other essential supplies:
- The Arc of Greater Williamsburg
- Williamsburg House of Mercy
- Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels
Nonprofits in greater Williamsburg are accustomed to collaborating to serve the community, but the pandemic has required even closer cooperation and a strategic, coordinated response. All three organizations that received funding this round have shown exceptional flexibility and collaboration in their work.
When the stay-at-home orders began, The Arc of Greater Williamsburg quickly pivoted. “As we adapted to stay in touch with our clients and families via technology, we realized that we could do more to assist the community by providing the use of our vans and drivers,” explains Pam McGregor. The organization held 10 food drives and delivered food to Grove Christian Outreach and House of Mercy. The WCF grant will help Arc staff and volunteers to continue making sure that vulnerable populations – seniors, the disabled, or homebound – have access to food, medications and other supplies. This summer Arc will partner with Meals on Wheels to deliver food to school-aged children to their apartment complexes and motels.
Williamsburg House of Mercy continues to serve residents who have lost income due to the pandemic, in collaboration with their volunteers, local businesses, and other nonprofits. Their grant will be used to purchase food, diapers, feminine hygiene supplies, toiletries, personal protective equipment and other supplies. Funds may also be used to assist with Mercy Housing move-ins, and eviction prevention through rent and utilities assistance. Prior to the pandemic, House of Mercy typically served 5 families per day; they currently serve up to 150 families per day now. As the months pass with continued unemployment, the needs will grow. “We are anticipating a large increase in assistance requests for eviction prevention through rent assistance and utilities assistance,” notes Nicole Lancour.
Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels has also worked closely with leaders across the community to provide meals to their existing clients and an additional 8 locations such as shelters, isolation and quarantine sites, Section 8 housing, motels and emergency response facilities. MOW staff and volunteers have delivered 25,500 meals since March 15th. They have also begun partnering with Williamsburg-James City County Schools and others to distribute lunches to children who would otherwise receive free/reduced lunch while in school, as well as food to cover the weekends.
Williamsburg Community Foundation will continue to distribute grants in response to COVID-19 as long as funds are available. The WCF Distribution Committee is committed to using the funds to serve the most pressing needs, and will continue to work with local leaders to ensure that the funds are used effectively and efficiently to serve those most impacted by the pandemic. To learn more about applying for funding, please call the office 757-259-1660 or email email@example.com.
To make a contribution to the Community Emergency Response Fund, give online through our website, or send a gift to Williamsburg Community Foundation, 1323 Jamestown Road, Suite 103, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Please write “Emergency Fund” in the memo line.