With COVID-19 continuing to ravage the country and specifically South Florida, many residents have struggled to find relief in getting their required services and basic necessities, as a result of the economic downturn the pandemic has created.
Now more than ever, local non-profit organizations aim to help those in need, and have found it even more difficult to do so.
Miami-Dade County has approximately 9000 non-profits that employ nearly 10 percent of the workforce. A recent FIU survey found that more than half of the nonprofits surveyed reported a drop in revenue, and nearly one-quarter have ceased operations due to COVID-19.
As such, and to ensure that existing community organizations can still support their communities, on Tuesday July 28 at the South Miami-Dade Government Center, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava recognized several area nonprofits, and provided them each with checks to continue their much needed community assistance.
Along with the money being provided -- allocated from community-based
discretionary funds for the commissioner’s use -- and her own personal
experience working with non-profit organizations for more than 40 years, Commissioner Cava also acknowledged the importance of these local groups to South Dade residents.
“I know first-hand how critical community-based organizations are to the well-being of children, families, and the community as a whole,” said Cava. “Just like for-profit businesses, many local nonprofits are facing a dire threat to their survival. Assisting our nonprofits in this time of need is essential to
ensuring that our entire economy recovers from this pandemic, and I am proud to continue to be a champion for our nonprofits.”
The first recipient was Reverend Vanessa Tinsley of Bridge To Hope, in Cutler Bay, receiving $10,000.
Rev. Tinsley explained the money will be used to further provide food for families that are unable to get food, due to lack of transportation or physical incapacity, in addition to home delivery of groceries and produce.
Also gifted with a $10,000 check was Angel Leon, from Doral’s non-profit group Prospera.
Their organization will use the funds to continue providing virtual individual counseling sessions, to support distressed small businesses learn how to access loans and grant opportunities, as well as offer funding for virtual workshops aiming to teach business start-ups fundamental business requirements.
Next up was Homestead Soup Kitchen’s director, Carolyn Pates, who explained they will use their $10,000 to further provide additional meals to be taken home by more families, and to provide food for them on weekends.
As Executive Director Alpha Fleurimond was in Haiti, his daughter Philandria Fleurimond, and Administrator Yanira Lewis from Three Virtues, out of Homestead, then received a $6,000 check; with which to provide food for three migrant camps in deep South Dade, and other families who cannot get to food distribution locations.
Located in Miami Lakes, Kathleen Elliot and Robert Bryant from Mahogany Youth Corporation followed and noted their $6,000 will be implemented toward providing funding for virtual learning, and after-school opportunities.
Derek Lester from Homestead’s Hard Knocks Foundation
subsequently received a $1,000 check to be used to provide masks, PPE, and food for their youth groups.
The event concluded with Fritzie Saintory of Genesis Hopeful Haven, also in Homestead, getting $10,000 to provide virtual after-school workshops,
weekend virtual learning, and skills development opportunities for foster care youth.
In addition to the checks received at the event, Commissioner Cava also explained the Miami-Dade County Commission had recently passed a program to further help non-profits, in which under the federal CARES Act, a grant may also be available to these area nonprofits.
Further details, once announced, will be sent to them accordingly; the proposed money stemming from an approximately 10 million dollars budget.
As Commissioner Cava said at the beginning of the event, despite social distancing and quarantines, the work of these local non-profits is more essential and required than ever before.
“Even though we are separated physically, we are close spiritually,” said Cava, “you are the hands and feet of our community.”