Troup county emergency relief fund Grant Awards
Amanda didn’t lose her primary job during the quarantine, but she did lose her extra part-time job. She didn’t qualify for any assistance when she lost the extra income, but as a single mom of three she couldn’t pay all the bills on one salary.
The West End Center is a Hogansville daycare with a unique business plan. Foster Grandparents work with the children at the facility, providing quality care at no cost to the facility. The Foster Grandparents receive a monthly stipend from the federally-funded program, but when COVID hit, the program pulled the participants to keep them safe. Without the over-65 crew, West End couldn’t open because they couldn’t afford to hire and train four new employees.
In March, when families began sheltering in place, Harmony House staff geared up for an increase in calls. From March 15 to July 15, staff fielded 228 crisis calls, up from 127 calls during the same time last year. Costs increased exponentially as domestic violence victims needed emergency housing and other resources.
As Troup County School System began planning for school opening, leaders knew they would have to provide masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, but the funding wasn’t in place for the increased expenses.
In each of these situations, funds from the Troup County Emergency Relief Fund were used to keep individuals and nonprofits on track. The relief fund is a community response to the economic crisis created by sheltering-in-place, required quarantines and business shut-downs.
“We started immediately talking about a response in early March,” said Patty Youngblood, CEO of United Way of West Georgia. “There were good models around the state and then we discovered United Way in Columbus was working with Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley. They shared the model that was working for them and that made sense for us.”
Callaway Foundation stepped in with a $50,000 matching grant and Truist Bank made the first corporate donation. Since then, the fund has grown to more than $140,000 with individual and corporate donations ranging from $25 to $15,000. By early May, United Way was distributing the relief funds to local non-profit organizations.
“The Foundation’s focus is on quality of life in Troup County. When our community is struggling, we want to be there to help,” said Tripp Penn, president of Callaway Foundation. “We’ve already gotten feedback from organizations who have helped people with everything from food, rent, utilities, medical bills and car insurance. It’s really amazing how many people have been impacted by this.”
Youngblood agreed. “We’re trying to fill the gaps and our local organizations are on the front lines meeting those needs,” she said.
The relief funds were distributed to 501c3 organizations that have the capacity to make grants to individuals. While United Way of West Georgia distributes the funds, a local committee makes decisions about the grants.
“It’s been a life saver for Harmony House,” said Michele Bedingfield, executive director of both Harmony House and Calumet Center for Healing and Attachment. “The Harmony House summer fundraiser was cancelled and we usually bring in $40,000. With that loss and the increase in needs, these funds have made a huge difference in our community.”
With the relief funds, Harmony House is able to provide housing and other resources for victims of domestic violence.
“Just this week, we helped a woman who was evicted due to foreclosure, not anything she did. LaGrange Police Department put her and her children in a hotel, but she wasn’t able to keep that up. She has a job, but won’t have funds for a new place until the end of the month, so we are able to help keep her safe and housed until then,” Bedingfield said.
While Circles of Troup County doesn’t usually provide monetary assistance, leaders recognized this was a unique situation.
“In February, all of our adults who could work were working. Since our purpose is to help people become financially self-sufficient, we were so excited we’d reached that milestone,” said Holly Roberts, Circles coach. “But by the end of March, 65% of our adults had lost their jobs. It wasn’t an immediate crisis, because our families have emergency savings, but by June, some of our families needed help – especially families with children at home. With these emergency funds, we’ve been able to help 13 families with rent or utilities.”
The quick community response reflects the generosity of the community, Youngblood said. “There are a lot of people one paycheck away from disaster, so when something like this hits and we see this kind of quick response, it says so much about the caring nature of our community.”
Organizations receiving grants from the Troup County Emergency Relief Fund
Troup Cares, prescription support, telehealth
Circles of Troup County, rent, utilities, prescriptions
God’s Bread Basket, food
Ark Refuge Ministries, food distribution, daily communal meals
Salvation Army, rent and utilities
Confidence Missionary Baptist Church, rent, utilities, food
American Red Cross, cost of one blood drive
Twin Cedars Youth & Family Services, cleaning expenses, telehealth therapy
Children’s Advocacy Center, telehealth
St. Vincent de Paul, rent utilities, food
Fellowship Deliverance Ministries, food, transportation, prescriptions
Calumet Center for Healing and Attachment, food, transportation
Boys & Girls Club of West Georgia, summer camp
The West End Center, reopen center
Troup County School System, masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes
Harmony House, shelter and telehealth
Hillside Montessori, air purifiers for classrooms
Trinity Seventh Day Adventist Church, school supplies
Elevation Hogansville, scholarships
DLDA Feeding the Frontlines, meals for first responders
Total Funds awarded
Total Amount Raised