In response to the pandemic, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has given over $50,000 to address area COVID-19 concerns. These funds have supported grants that assist nonprofits in providing food, rent and utility assistance, as well as hygiene and school supplies. Beyond community members’ increasing needs, the Foundation has also found that COVID-19 significantly impacts nonprofits, causing a change to programming and services and a need for new revenue streams. Marian Clowes, the Foundation’s Associate Director for Community Leadership, is particularly concerned about arts and cultural organizations, who rely heavily on ticket sales.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation has received increasing requests to address increasing food insecurity. One local nonprofit that received funding thanked the Foundation for coordinating support for local families. “As the person working directly with the recipients, I want to say that it was a real lifeline for some families who were caught in the unemployment limbo,” they shared.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Hunger and Safety Net Funds address food insecurity and other emergency needs. One grantee, the Mountaineer Foodbank, received $6,000 which will provide much-needed support to pantries in all PACF-served counties: Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Mason, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Wood counties in West Virginia, and Washington County, Ohio.
Many of the formerly homeless youth served through our Transitional Living Program have lost employment and are struggling with food insecurity.
In addition to funds used to increase local access to food, the Foundation granted $4,620 to the Children’s Home Society for their Transitional Living Program, supporting food needs for youth. “Many of the formerly homeless youth served through our Transitional Living Program have lost employment and are struggling with food insecurity,” shared Shelley Plauché-Adkins, Children’s Home Society of WV’s Regional Director. “These funds will enable Children’s Home Society to provide food boxes to 22 youth and their children over the next 12 weeks.”
Other grants are assisting with meal programs, including $2,000 to the Friendship Kitchen and $5,000 to the Wood County Senior Citizens Association to expand meal deliveries. Anticipating additional community needs, the Foundation granted $7,500 to help clients who are facing financial hardships to meet their basic needs, including rent and utility assistance, to SW Resources.
All of this work and financial assistance would not be possible without key partnerships, including the Sisters Health Foundation which gave a $25,000 grant to the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation’s Safety Net Fund. “The Foundation is matching 1:1, and we are jointly awarding grants to organizations addressing food insecurity, the needs of seniors, and mental health and addiction issues,” said Clowes. Thanks to this partnership, Calhoun County Schools have been able to distribute $3,000 in hygiene products and school supplies to families in need.
The Foundation is also collaborating with both the Truist (BB&T) and EQT Foundations, as well as receiving continued community support through individual donations. Judy Sjostedt Ritchie, Executive Director of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, appreciates the opportunity to partner. “EQT Foundation’s generosity and continued partnership with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation will ensure that local needs that arise due to this COVID-19 pandemic are supported in a prompt and efficient way,” she said.
We anticipate making more distributions soon and we encourage the community to continue supporting these important charitable funds.
Other local partners in the COVID-19 response include area businesses like Solvay and Star Plastics, as well as Piggly Wiggly, who encouraged employees to support the response efforts and provide the Boys and Girls Club with food gift cards. Additionally, they are coordinating response efforts with the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley to share accurate and up to date information, address gaps in services, and meet community needs.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation believes that community needs will only increase as the pandemic lasts, and is committed to working to address the growing need for food access, and rent and utility assistance. Nonprofit organizations should reach out to the Foundation if they are in need of assistance or have additional information about client needs at 304-428-4438 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The community can continue to make an impact by donating to the Safety Net Fund and/or Hunger Fund, here. “We anticipate making more distributions soon and we encourage the community to continue supporting these important charitable funds,” said Clowes. “We are very grateful for our donors’ help, enabling us to meet the needs of our community.”