Our unusual world situation is presenting new needs to some of our charities. Here are just a few local nonprofits that have special challenges during the pandemic. (Each of their websites has the ability to take donations.)
The Council of Neighbors and Organizations, or CONO cscono.org), supports connecting neighbors and neighborhoods. CONO is providing weekly webcasts with county and city officials, such as the district attorney, City Council members and leaders in city departments, with information about how they are dealing with the virus and how to connect with them. Richard Strasbaugh, CEO of CONO, points out that during the pandemic, fighting the effects of seclusion is critical. The impact of isolation on long-term health as well as mental health can be devastating. CONO also features webcasts on how neighbors can connect while staying safe. These online videos include tips about social media, neighbors dancing on porches, scavenger hunts and other interactive activities that can be held while social distancing.
The homeless population is particularly vulnerable to the health threat. Springs Rescue Mission (springsrescuemission.org) has moved into an emergency response mode since the outbreak.
“Since we opened the doors of our shelter in 2016, we have been dedicated and determined to create a clean, healthy and dignified environment for those struggling with homelessness,” said President & CEO Larry Yonker.
“Knowing we serve a vulnerable population, our mission is to continue prioritizing their health, safety and well-being during this sensitive time.” The organization provides overnight shelter to almost 400 people, and their need for day shelter has recently almost doubled.
Homeless youths are a particularly vulnerable population, and the need for help is even greater now. The reasons for young people being homeless vary, including abuse or neglect, alcohol or drug use either by the parents or the young person, expelled for being LGBTQ, or leaving the foster system. The Place (theplacecos.org) serves the needs of youths experiencing homelessness, ages 14 to 24, providing shelter on site for youths ages 14 to 20, as well as help with housing placement for those old enough to live on their own.
Some of these young people suffer from fear and anxiety, which is exacerbated by the pandemic. Before the pandemic, the young people at The Place were required to be out of the shelter during the day for school, work, or volunteer activities, but are now able to stay in during the day for safety.
Care and Share (careandshare.org) is continuing to provide food to neighbors in need while maintaining safe practices for their staff, volunteers, and the recipients of food. The Pikes Peak United Way (ppunitedway.org) continues to support the community needs of income, education, and health, during the pandemic and going forward.
These organizations are a vital — but often unseen — part of our community, and your support of these nonprofits is always appreciated.
Linda Leitz is a certified financial planner. She can be reached at email@example.com.