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Local nonprofits push for more support this ‘Giving Tuesday’ during pandemic

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 6:09 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - This “Giving Tuesday” has a new meaning for many struggling non-profits, with both an increase in demand for services and the pandemic making it difficult to host fundraisers.

“We’ve just seen such an increase in the number of people and the different types of people, people that never had to access resources before,” Kim Guardado, the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program’s food reservoir director, said.

Guardado said since the pandemic started, they’ve seen a 40% increase in the number of people who need food. The biggest increase is the number of people accessing food resources for the first time.

“It’s been an increase whether it’s through one of our large mobiles over the Summer or accessing one of our pantry sites in the community,” Guardado said.

It’s a challenge to provide enough resources for people to get what they need.

“We have food pantry partners, dining sites and all of those resources in the community have really stepped up to increase access to stay open,” Guardado said.

It’s a similar struggle for another local non-profit, the Willis Dady Homeless Shelter.

“When we think about the impact the pandemic has had, and also the impact of derecho it’s affected so many people in so many different ways,” Denine Rushing, the shelter’s manager, said.

The main shelter and overflow shelter have increased hours, now operating 24 hours a day. That increased need is combined with challenges in fundraising events.

“Some of them we’ve still been able to do, but we’ve had to do it online,” Rushing said.

Both Rushing and Guardado say they’ve seen people still wanting to help out and volunteer, and they’re asking for people to keep that going this Giving Tuesday.

“It’s important for people to know when they do donate whether its a bedding set or it’s canned goods or hand warmers, hats or scarves, that it’s definitely going to help somebody in the community that is in need,” Rushing said.

If financial donations aren’t an option, there are other ways to help.

“People can help us pack boxes, pack bags or even help us clean in our warehouse, so there are lots of opportunities for donating time, but one simple thing people can do is share our social media posts so share the word that we are looking for help,” Guardado said.

If people want to help out, they can contact HACAP or Willis Dady directly.

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