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Local nonprofits see double the need after pandemic brings uncertainty to many

Posted at 8:11 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 22:00:53-05

WACO, TX — Giving Tuesday is a day many nonprofits rely on. A global holiday to recognize the importance of giving back to those who give all year long.

Caritas of Waco, a food pantry, says their need has doubled this year. With many struggling during the pandemic there are 761 new clients this year coming to Caritas for help.

"People have either been furloughed or lost their jobs all together, and we're seeing a lot of new clients that have never had to use our services before," said Ann Owen, Co-Executive Director of Caritas.

Nearly 4.2 million pounds of food have gone in and out of their doors this year. That's an increase in 1.4 million pounds compared to last year.

"Last week we saw over 300 families per day," Owen said.

Monetary donations for Caritas go a long way, although they appreciate when people drop off food.

"We always say a dollar will buy two and a half pounds of food, so you can see that that goes a long way," Owen said.

Caritas is working hard to fill families' stomachs with food, but CASA of McLennan County is working hard to fill kids' hearts with love.

Their volunteers work closely with a child who is in foster care, advocating for them in court to find the best care and loving home for that child.

Since the pandemic, volunteers have needed to get creative.

"With moving our advocacy to virtual, they had to come up with different ways to remain connected to their CASA kids that they're advocating for," Executive Director Anna Futral said.

Last year they served 336 children with 94 volunteers. Surprisingly, after the pandemic hit Central Texas, more volunteers decided to sign up. Now they have a little over 100 volunteers serving 250 kids.

"There are actually about 800 kids in foster care daily in McLennan County," Futral said.

Because of this, the need for volunteers is high.

Even if you don't feel like you could volunteer, monetary donations are always needed. This money goes toward licensed social workers that are provided to the volunteers to help the children in foster care.

You can also nominate others who you feel might be a good idea to be a CASA volunteer.

To help CASA you can visit their website here.

To help Caritas visit their website here.