Fundraiser to help nonprofits hurt by COVID-19

Many in need of funding, volunteers

  • Saturday, September 12, 2020 1:30am
  • News

Peacock Family Services’ child care facility in Bainbridge Island can hold up to 50 kids.

Right now it has 13. The main reason: Some parents are uncomfortable putting their child in that kind of setting due to COVID-19.

“Parents are nervous sending their kids out into the world,” said Kathy Haskin, executive director at Peacock. She said parents have to weigh the developmental learning of social and emotional needs against the current health concerns.

As a result, Haskin is concerned it may not survive until parents return to their workplaces, and they are in desperate need of child care.

Peacock is like many other nonprofits on Bainbridge and elsewhere in Kitsap County that are struggling financially due to the coronavirus.

Bainbridge Community Foundation wants to help. It is putting on a special fundraising effort called “Bainbridge Together.” To donate go to bcf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate

A survey recently done by the foundation says 16 percent of nonprofits likely won’t survive, while 68 percent think they will survive, but only with significant changes. Most say they are in desperate need of funds and volunteers.

Peacock does have an after school program that remains popular because it’s outside, where it’s safer. Soon those programs also will be offered during school hours, since kids are learning from home.

Haskins said child care facilities survive on very small margins financially even in the best of circumstances.

“We can’t charge families the true cost of care,” she said.

What adds to Peacock’s money woes is it is inclusive and takes children regardless of their ability to pay. They rely on donations to fill the gaps, Haskins said.

Because they take low-income families they receive government subsidies. They also rely heavily on donations and grants.

“Families shouldn’t have to choose between rent and child care,” she said, adding up to 34 percent of families need tuition assistance.

Helpline House

Maria Metzler, executive director of Helpline House, said the community has been donating money to help keep them going, but she’s concerned about the fall and winter, when they have their greatest need.

The lack of community food drives is a reason.

“We haven’t been able to hold those for obvious reasons,” she said, adding they hope to reach out to different groups “to help rally and procure certain items.”

Popular recently has been the Pantry Program, a mostly summer program for school kids that has been extended due to school being out due to COVID.

Since the coronavirus hit in March, Metzler said they have added almost 100 people to the food bank list.

“That has us raising our eyebrows,” she said. “We do anticipate people are just about at the end of their resources. Government benefits are starting to slow down. “

The Porch Pantry is another popular feature. It is open whenever the food bank isn’t with ready-to-eat food. Metzler said they are restocking it several times a day. Users are people who just need a little more food, and those “who really want to keep their anonymity. They don’t want to be seen shopping at Helpline House.”

The food bank process has changed at Helpline. “We’re not an in-person market anymore,” she said.

Once a week from noon to 4 p.m. people come and have food delivered to them in the parking lot in about five minutes. About 25 percent of their items are staples everyone gets in prepackaged boxes. They order the rest with fresh vegetables, dairy, protein, meat. etc.

“We give our clients as much choice as we can to come to our little market and shop,” Metzler said.

The foundation

The foundation supports local nonprofits by providing analyses of community needs, awarding grants to meet those needs, connecting donors to nonprofits and encouraging collaboration. The foundation also awards grants through its Community Response Fund during a crisis such as the pandemic.

The foundation has awarded almost $1.388 million in grants to nonprofits this year. A little more than $507,000 came from its regular grants, up from almost $322,000 last year, with the rest coming from emergency grants.

The foundation says many nonprofits have found creative ways to keep some programs going. They also have been helped by community donations, federal grants and loans. But here are some anonymous quotes from survey responders:*“We will survive, but will incur debt. Our revenue is down 70 percent.”*“If we cannot hold our special events we face a budget shortfall annually of nearly $450,000.”*“Loss of Volunteers, continuing to pay rent on a building we can’t occupy, need and cost for additional employees due to the increased level of time needed to do the same tasks we did before.”Bainbridge Together

As a result of the survey results, the foundation decided more help is needed. So it is putting on the Bainbridge Together fundraising campaign.

As part of Bainbridge Together, for six weeks, different nonprofits will be featured: Caring for Our Kids, Providing Support for Adults and Families, Healthy Living for Our Seniors, Enriching Our Lives through Arts, Music and Culture, Protecting Our Outdoors and Nurturing Our Animals.

The foundation will publish on its website (www.BainbridgeCF.org) and social media sites weekly articles, videos and other materials to describe the work of the nonprofits.

Featured programs

Some of those to be featured include:

*Bainbridge Performing Arts: Combines theater, dance and music as the only performing arts center on the island. They helped sew masks when there was a shortage. Their emergency budget is dwindling, and they won’t be able to reopen until Phase 4.*IslandWood: An environmental science and education nonprofit, where students experience their environment in a way that builds them as the next generation of problem-solvers. It ran into significant challenges at the beginning of COVID and had to lay off 60 percent of its staff.*Kids Discovery Museum: The only museum on the island solely dedicated to the exploration of kids. When COVID hit, their executive director retired, and their new one has thought of creative ways to maintain program, including a new preschool this fall.*Helpline House: A health and human services organization that has stepped up since COVID. They have provided food and water for those in need, and coordinated with other nonprofits to ensure their vulnerable populations have their basic needs met. Kids Pantry provides nutritious meals to children. Their resources are available to anyone who needs them.2 fundraisersPeacock doesn’t just rely on others for help. It also has two of its own fundraisers, but they have been moved online.

One last spring brought in $5,500 after expenses, but that “pales in comparison” to prevous years, Haskin said, adding their fixed expenses are $10,000 a month, plus payroll.

Another fundraiser will take place at the end of October.

“We have to go beyond what we normally need to raise,” Haskin said. “We need to find a way to survive through this.”

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