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Local non-profits share their stories of service, struggles faced throughout the pandemic

Posted at 5:33 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 18:33:39-05

The ripple effects of coronavirus shutdowns back in March are still being felt today.

Many people found themselves turning to non-profits for assistance, most for the first time ever.

As the demand continues to grow, these organizations have had to pivot, juggling operating with an increased demand and less funding readily available.

It's no secret that non-profits thrive on fund-raising, and with the pandemic canceling those events and their regular donors stretched thin too, organizations had to dig deep and remember why they started in the first place.

Families in Crisis and the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity both saw an increased need for their services in 2020. Families in Crisis saw a record number of clients in their domestic violence services and homeless shelter, all while operating with less funding.

“It was just a very challenging year. Local donations were drastically down we’re pursuing Additional funding sources aggressively so that we can continue to meet the needs of the folks that need our services,” said Suzanne Armour, Director of Programming at Families in Crisis.

State and federal grants allowed them to continue their service.

It’s the same story over at Fort Hoods Habitat for Humanity. The non-profit was able to service 62 families this year and even hire a few extra helping hands, proving COVID can't stop good, but they're seeing 80% less in donations which is now setting back some of their future plans for 2021.

“Our biggest challenged that we faced was just the unknown. We were back on track for September and October to start our builds our new builds so that we can bring in more volunteers but without that financial giving we’re having to slow that and pull back the reigns on that,” said Ken Cates, CEO of the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity.

“We’ve definitely had to re-imagine and we’ve definitely had to refocus,” said Vashelle Greene.

A similar tale describes what United Way of Central Texas went through. Just like any other non-profit, United Way had to shift their fund-raising efforts to support their partners.

“We still were able to do what we do which is fund raise which is to bring awareness to the agencies and all the great things that they do," said Vashell Greene Director of Public Relations at United Way Central TX.

2020 proved to be a challenge for these nonprofits from the very beginning but they all agree that no matter the hardships they may face, it's all for the greater good.

“Serving the community that was our driving force,” said Cates.

“It reminded us that we are resilient and we are flexible and we’re not going anywhere,” added Greene.

If you would like to donate, click on the organization below.