These last few weeks as the federal government shutdown has progressed I have heard from many of you who want to know how to best help furloughed workers, contractors and other families affected by suspended or reduced government services.
Your desire to help is a silver lining to me. Thank you for choosing to be a proactive force for local community support.
While we are still assessing the needs of our community with input from our non-profit partners, we know the call for emergency support will come as the effects from the shutdown begin to reveal themselves.
Season of Sharing
Contributions can be made, of course, though our Season of Sharing fund, which exists for unexpected emergency situations like the shutdown. The fund allows us to be nimble as the needs emerge in this evolving situation. Gifts made today can help someone tomorrow and months from now, much like was done last summer and early fall during the height of Red Tide. Thanks to guidance from 10 human service non-profit agencies who have a network of more than 60 additional organizations, we can quickly respond to calls for help in a strategic manner.
The annual Season of Sharing campaign, which raises funds for the entire year, runs through January 31. Thanks to philanthropist Gerri Aaron's $100,000 matching gift we have funds remaining to double your Season of Sharing contribution, which can be made through a donor advised fund or our online donation page.
Additional Resources Several resources exist in our area for those in need of help, and many organizations are working together to determine what steps will need to be taken should the shutdown continue. Please refer to the links below for up-to-date details on where to find help.
- 2-1-1 Suncoast is a free and confidential service that helps people across the area find help by phone, text or online chat.
- United Way Suncoast has put together a list of resources specific to the shutdown to answer questions about unemployment benefits, food security benefits and housing.
- All Faiths Food Bank has a "Food Finder" to direct people to nearby food distribution sites and is relying on volunteers to quickly deliver food to those in need. They also provide answers to common questions about SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) in English, Spanish and Creole.
- The Giving Partner offers a quick and powerful search tool to find non-profit organizations that serve specific ZIP codes and causes. Food, Shelter and Mental Health & Crisis Intervention resources are just a few of the categories to find resources or perhaps support an organization that received federal funding.
Again, thank you for your ongoing desire to help all of us who live here. Your support during this unprecedented time truly demonstrates how we all have the ability to impact another life, a cause and our community.