April 28, 2020
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Nonprofits in need respond to our COVID-19 message board

Consider donating to one of these nonprofits in The Renewal Project community.

Nonprofits need support now more than ever. Below we are keeping a running list of community organizations in need. If you have a specific need, email our editor at margaret@therenewalproject.com.

As communities respond to the coronavirus pandemic, we decided to repurpose this space for you, our Renewal Project community. We created this virtual message board to amplify your nonprofit’s specific needs during this time. If you want to be included, please send us a link to your nonprofit and your specific request to margaret@therenewalproject.com.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get this list emailed to you weekly.

— Margaret Myers, The Renewal Project editor


Byte Back is a D.C.-Baltimore nonprofit that provides free tech training that leads to living-wage careers. With unemployment skyrocketing, there is high demand for Byte Back’s services, which have moved from in-person to online. But this new format in light of COVID-19 creates a barrier for one-third of the participants who lack a computer or internet at home. Donate here to help them level the digital divide and get more computers and internet service to participants in need.

Saint John’s Program for Real Change is a residential program for formerly homeless women and children, serving up to 270 people per day in Sacramento. Saint John’s provides mental health therapy, drug and addiction counseling, life skills coaching, employment training, job readiness, and job placement. With the cancellation or postponement of fundraising events, the closing of its restaurants, and increased expenses for families who are sheltering in place, they’re facing a loss of $150,000 per month. You can support St. John’s through the recently launched Red Door fundraising campaign.

One Can Help addresses inequities in the juvenile court system by providing critical resources for at-risk youth, foster children, and struggling families in Greater Boston and across Massachusetts. With so many families who can’t work and are caring for children, the nonprofit is handing out e-gift cards for food and basic needs, laptops for online learning, and more unique items like storage units so foster youth in college have a safe place to store belongings while they search for housing. “People are so desperate for this assistance,” founder Anne Bader-Martin wrote to us. Donate here to help give these youth and families the essentials they need.

Classroom Central provides free school supplies to teachers and students in nearly 200 schools in the Charlotte, North Carolina, region. With school closed, the nonprofit reacted quickly by setting up emergency meal distribution locations throughout the county for kids in need. They are also working with partner agencies, such as food and shelter providers, to extend their reach to even more students. Donate here.

I Grow Chicago is a social justice organization dedicated to strengthening the Englewood neighborhood in southwest Chicago, an area with some of the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in the city. I Grow Chicago has developed a comprehensive 90-day support plan to serve 689 households on 25 city blocks through this crisis, but they need your help. Donate here.

Garden Raised Bounty (GRuB) in Olympia, Washington, is helping to break the cycle of hunger, poverty, and inequality through community farming. The nonprofit is seeking donations to help them double their usual garden builds to increase food security, resilience, and joy during this stressful and uncertain time. Donate here to help them grow more fruits and vegetables to feed their community.

Teens for Food Justice empowers at-risk teens in schools throughout New York City. The nonprofit trains youth in 21st century hydroponic urban agricultural farming techniques, entrepreneurship, and health education. COVID-19 has made a massive impact on the city, but TFFJ remains committed to working diligently to ensure that students and their families have adequate access to food. They have begun mapping all emergency food resources that are still available in the neighborhoods where their hydroponic farms are located. Help them continue to connect families with these resources by donating here.

Comp-u-dopt is a Houston-based nonprofit that works to close the digital divide. During the Covid-19 crisis, the organization is giving computers to families in need so that students can learn online while schools are closed. Comp-u-dopt is asking for computer donations, as well as financial support to purchase parts and refurbish technology.

EYEJ, or Empowering Youth Exploring Justice, is a Cleveland nonprofit that’s launching new programs to help kids during this time. This includes their online All-Star reading program for middle-school children, as well as their Youths Online Discussion Program, which aims to keep young people talking and engaging with important issues. Support the nonprofit here.

Hearts and Homes for Refugees, based in Westchester, New York, is working to help refugees weather the COVID-19 crisis. They are hosting virtual conversations among refugees, and recruiting and financially supporting refugee volunteers to sew face masks. Donate here.

F.A.R.M.S. is focused on helping farmers around the country with their F.A.R.M.S. Emergency Fund. The program provides stipends to small farmers who are in need of assistance. The nonprofit wants to continue to support any rural farmer with less than 500 acres of land who needs help. Donate to the nonprofit here.

Second Helpings on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is seeking funds to hire displaced restaurant employees for their food rescue program. Their current volunteer base, mostly older adults who deliver food from local grocery stores to 55 food pantry agencies, are adhering to shelter in place guidelines. Donate here to help give displaced workers a new way to earn income, while helping their community.

Faces In Between launched a COVID-19 food support initiative to provide over 3,000 meals to families in need in New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. Donate here to the initiative—$2 covers the cost of one meal.

The Garage Youth Center is a youth development program in southeastern Pennsylvania. They’re working harder than ever to provide support to their kids while their doors are closed. Staff are providing homework checks, mental and emotional support, and academic assistance through virtual communication. They’re also producing self-care workshops through Facebook and Instagram. Donate to help them continue serving their community.

Urban Ministries of Wake County is the area’s largest shelter for single, adult women experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit in Raleigh, North Carolina, also operates a food pantry and a clinic that treats uninsured adults with chronic conditions. Right now, many volunteers are staying home, and medical workers are using telemedicine when they can. With these new complications, resources are tight, says Urban Ministries communications specialist Carrie Pitts-Densmore. Donate to Urban Ministries here.

Empower Boone is the largest food pantry in Boone County, a rural community in northern Illinois. They serve over 2,000 folks each month not only with food, but also household items and personal care products. During this current crisis, they are particularly concerned about their food supply. “We are in need of monetary sponsors to keep our doors open and our shelves full,” wrote director of operations Brenda Valdez in her email. She also said they have a limited supply of diapers and pet food. Donate to Empower Boone here.

The Haven Home is in dire need of personal care items for women and children experiencing homelessness and even those who continue to struggle even after they’ve found a home. “We recently helped a mom who was unable to purchase diapers as well as soap and, of course, toilet paper,” executive director Cindy Rios told us. They are also running short on face cloths and towels. See what they need on their Amazon wish list here. Send items to 6114 Francis Ave., Cleveland, OH, 44127. Or find a link to donate here.

Bracken’s Kitchen is an army of food trucks that is mobilizing during this difficult time. They’re rolling out, feeding people in need, and providing opportunities for recently unemployed chefs and restaurant workers to use their skills for a good cause. When the Orange County nonprofit was sent a pallet of beans, they got to work and made rice and beans to feed the southern California region. “I think people, for the most part, are kind at heart, and will rise to the occasion when given the opportunity to do good…this is just one more example,” says Mary Beth Miller, a volunteer with the organization. Donate to Bracken’s Kitchen here.

Friends Without Homes helps people experiencing homelessness all from an RV. The nonprofit, based in Lewis County, Washington, serves as a lifeline between people and the resources they desperately need. With shelters currently posing a health risk and many resources like libraries shuttered, the nonprofit needs tents and sleeping bags. These two items provide not just shelter, but a chance for health and safety during this crisis. You can contact the nonprofit through its Facebook page or at 360-386-5915.

The Brian Muha Foundation serves inner city Columbus. Executive director Rachel Muha says it serves about 160 people on its weekly Drive Up Day. Each one costs about $800, and they need more funding to keep the service going. Additionally, they have helped several families in the area who were recently affected by flooding. The foundation is looking for additional funding to put toward its effort to help these families purchase new appliances. Find a link to donate here.

Feeding Kids Right delivers “hot soul food” to kids in rural Athens, Texas. With schools closed, founder Willa Johnson said her call volume has picked up. She needs extra funding to help stock her purple and yellow food truck and drive it directly to families in need. She tells us that many of her kids are being raised by grandparents because their parents are struggling with addiction or are incarcerated. “So when the grandparents see us, they are just as happy as the children,” she wrote. Donate to its PayPal or send donations to: Feeding Kids Right, PO Box 25183, Fort Worth, TX, 76124.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels is in need of funding to help sustain its response to COVID-19. The North Carolina nonprofit traditionally serves hot balanced meals, Monday to Friday, to older adults, homebound adults, adults with disabilities, and those convalescing who do not have access to, or the ability to prepare, a healthy meal. In light of COVID-19, they have adjusted their entire operation to weekly deliveries of frozen and shelf-stable meals. Because they are no longer able to do a check-in in person, they have established a volunteer phone brigade to call recipients each weekday to check in. Learn how to volunteer here or donate here.

Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission is helping families in northern Kentucky who have been impacted by COVID-19 with food, household supplies, and emergency funding. The nonprofit’s VP of community development, Rhonda Chisenhall, says that there are some resources for their larger communities, but they are finding it more difficult to connect rural residents with the resources they need. Donate here to its emergency assistance fund.

Tennyson Center for Children serves Colorado’s neglected, abused, and traumatized children. As more families face job loss and economic uncertainty, children, too, face a heightened risk of abuse and neglect. With schools closed, traditional hotline tipsters like teachers, school staff, and child care providers are no longer seeing children. But Tennyson is adapting to the challenge, says CEO Ned Breslin. Their clinicians have been providing telehealth video sessions as well as providing families with the necessary technology to continue therapy and educational services during this time of isolation. For example, one clinician helped a grandmother who is in her 80s and raising her seven-year-old granddaughter in an assisted living facility reset a phone and access a computer and wifi connection. They are now connected to their clinician, their broader family, and their doctor. In addition to ensuring continuation of services, clinicians have also provided families with supermarket gift cards to help families maintain access to basic resources. Donate here and support the most vulnerable in Colorado.

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