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Grants in Action: Masks in Ritchie County

Even small grants can make a big difference. Just ask the Ritchie County Family Resource Network (FRN). The FRN received a $600 COVID-19 relief grant from the PACF to buy material, elastic, and thread for a community mask-making project.

"Ritchie County had several clothing manufacturing factories in the county in the past. When I put the call out for volunteers, many of them were these same workers," said Pam Ward, Executive Director of the FRN. "By securing these funds, the FRN was able to provide volunteers with the necessary supplies to mass produce the masks. They felt like they were being useful and able to contribute back to the community and to help with the COVID pandemic."

The masks were donated to agencies and individuals in the county, allowing service providers to continue seeing clients and residents to safely get groceries, visit doctors, and undertake other essential activities. The masks will continue to offer protection for months to come

COVID-19 Relief Grants Address Food Insecurity

When the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our region in March and individuals lost employment, many struggled to make ends meet and to provide food for their families.

Fortunately, our region has a strong network of food pantries and feeding programs that rallied quickly to provide support, and the Foundation rapidly deployed grants to help these organizations increase their capacity. For example, the Thrive food pantry stepped up quickly to extend their hours, staying open an additional ten hours per week, and they adapted their services to provide drive-through pick up of food. Through its Hunger Fund, the PACF provided a $5,000 grant to Thrive to help cover increased food and operating expenses. In March, Thrive assisted 259 clients. This number jumped to 628 in April.

"It was really great to see the CRI staff all work together to keep everything going," said Thrive Director Melissa Ogden. "I think one of the most memorable stories would be about the sweet lady who called us in tears scared to go to the store and didn't know how she would be able to get food. We told her that we would bring food to her, so we took her 'order' and food was left at her door. She could not believe that we would do this for her." 

The PACF also provided a $4,620 grant from its Hunger Fund to Children's Home Society (CHS) to provide food boxes and cleaning supplies to youth in its transitional living program, which serves young adults transitioning out of foster care. CHS staff worked with local retailers to buy large quantities of fresh meat and vegetables, along with shelf-stable items, which provided these young adults with enough food to create 7 days of meals for their households. One youth was so excited to receive a gallon of milk after not having access to milk for several weeks, that he said, “I could just hug you all!”

"We agreed to an air hug because of social distancing," CHS staff reported, "but with it came a lot of laughter and smiles all because of a gallon of milk, something that most of us likely take for granted in our weekly shopping list."

To support the Foundation's work addressing food insecurity in our region, please donate to the Hunger Fund or contact us to learn more about how you can get involved.  

Grants in Action: Calhoun County Family Resource Network

Vegetables at the FRNIn November 2019, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation awarded the Calhoun County Family Resource Network a $7,500 grant to provide supplemental food boxes for low income seniors in Calhoun County.  Little did we know at that time how much the need for food access would increase early in 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With PACF funds, the Calhoun County Family Resource Network served 170 seniors, most of whom received food assistance at least seven times.
 

One of the seniors, who has a child with autism, relies on the program to meet her family's nutritional needs.  She cans the produce that she receives and prepares then freezes the meat to serve future meals.  After one food distribution event this senior reported, "I canned the bag of sweet potatoes and got six quarts. Thank you!"

Helping individuals achieve their charitable goals is integral to the mission of the PACF.  The Foundation is committed to making sure our actions and community investments are making a difference every day for the people and communities of our region.  The PACF is honored to provide financial support to the Calhoun County Family Resource Network.  This grant was made possible by the Smoot-Widmeyer Community Fund and the Cecile G. Morgan Memorial Fund.

To learn more about how you can partner with the Foundation to support programs like this in our community, please call 304-428-4438.

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