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- Food & Drink
April 3, 2020
You can’t stay home when you don’t have a home.
As the COVID-19 outbreak has spread, the number of people seeking shelter and support from the Union Gospel Mission has increased dramatically — reaching 200 people served daily as of last week, a 30 percent increase from early in the year.
While all guests receive meals, spiritual support and have access to shower facilities, the increase in numbers has left many without a bed.
When Eric Weber, Union Gospel CEO, had to make room for guests to sleep on the floor, he turned to the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation for help.
Weber submitted an application to the foundation’s new COVID-19 Response Grant Program, an emergency fund for nonprofits that have seen an extraordinary increase in demand for services or need emergency operating support because of the pandemic.
The Community Foundation approved the application, awarding a grant to help the Union Gospel Mission purchase more beds.
From Weber’s viewpoint, the grant will provide those he serves with a pathway to hope.
“This grant helps the people in our community get off the floor and into a bed during a time like this,” he said. “When people don’t have anything and we give them a place to sleep, they at least have something. This grant (is helping) us love out loud in a tangible way to those in need.”
Local nonprofits such as Union Gospel Mission — organizations that are dedicated to serving the area’s most vulnerable populations — are weathering unprecedented challenges because of the pandemic upheaval, said Patrick Gale, the foundation’s vice president for community investment.
The Response Grant Program is designed to help, he said.
“We’re committed to deploying resources and support to help our nonprofits during this difficult time,” Gale said. “That includes our emergency grant program as well as efforts to build connections and create shared synergies among nonprofit leaders through initiatives like our twice-weekly Zoom meetings. We’re all in this together. And by working together with compassion and ingenuity, we will get through this.”
“When people don’t have anything and we give them a place to sleep, they at least have something. This grant (is helping) us love out loud in a tangible way to those in need.”