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Nonprofit View: The Shepherd’s Staff needs help to help families in crisis | COMMENTARY

To say that we ever imagined to be in this place of constant change, or dare we say crisis, is an understatement. Since March, we at The Shepherd’s Staff have been revising the way be do business on an almost daily basis. When businesses began shuttering their doors, we immediately went to serving our guests remotely, by telephone appointment.

Folks call and leave their contact information and we get back to them and schedule appointments for mail pickup, personal care items and emergency financial assistance; all the while keeping social distancing precautions ever present for the safety of our guests, volunteers and staff. Albeit a good deal more work for the staff, the process has been working well. We have had to cancel two of our major fundraisers and had several others hosted by the community canceled as well. We are working to develop innovative ways to recoup some of those funds. This spring we hosted a successful 0.0 Virtual Walk, Run or None and this week we launched a Summer Sendoff Prize Draw (more information can be found on our FaceBook page or by calling the office).

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That being said, there will still be a loss incurred, and there is a tsunami of sorts coming. The lifting of the moratoriums on utilities and evictions are on the horizon in the very near future.

The oft-quoted source from a May 2016 article in The Atlantic, “The Fed asked respondents how they would pay for a $400 emergency. The answer: 47 percent of respondents said that either they would cover the expense by borrowing or selling something, or they would not be able to come up with the $400 at all,” has come under fire of late. But, the April 8, 2020 issue of The Dispatch, referenced another study in relation to this question, “the Bhutta and Dettling study offered a far better — and more dire — indicator, noting that “only about 40 percent of families have liquid savings equivalent to at least three months of expenses, and less than 30 percent have liquid savings equivalent to at least six months of expenses.”

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Juxtapose that against today’s lifting of moratoriums, layoffs and job loss and you’ll find the urgency rising just below the horizon, and therein lies the rub. These folks, many of them from families that had been working regularly before the layoffs and business closings began, are now close to four months behind on their rent and utilities. Add into that unexpected medical bills, among other things, and the emergency takes on a life of its own. Once the stays are lifted these families will be in a place of crisis.

Without your help, many folks, very possibly your neighbors, will be in a situation which can easily spiral into homelessness. Many of them never having to have asked for anything at all in their lives. We need your help to help keep them where they are. They don’t need to be supported month after month, they just need to be made whole so they have a fresh start. This is an easy fix, but one we cannot do without your love, support, prayers and financial donations. We are here for these folks, can we count on you?

Grace and peace.

Brenda Meadows is the executive director of The Shepherd’s Staff.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it, as our editorial. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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