Funding Awarded for Local Agencies Impacted by COVID-19

First Presbyterian Church in Covington has announced that a total of $7,500 has been received from the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Initial Grant Fund of Presbyterian Disaster Care to support the COPE Food Pantry, the South Covington Care Pantry and Safehome systems, Inc. From left: Linda Black, South Covington Care Pantry; the Rev. Jim Slate, COPE pantry chairman; Jennifer Diehl, Safehomes interim executive director. (Gavin Dressler Photo)

First Presbyterian Church in Covington has announced that a total of $7,500 has been received from the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Initial Grant Fund of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) to support the increased demand for food at both the COPE Food Pantry and the South Covington Care Pantry (SCCP), and for increased demand for services at Safehomes Systems.

The church submitted the grant applications to the Presbytery of the Peaks on behalf of these three organizations. Barbara Hise, chairperson of the church’s Mission and Service Committee, commented, “We are delighted to provide help for these financially strapped organizations that are critical in our local social services network.”

The funding for the food banks is to cover the surge in food requests since the start of the pandemic, brought on by job loss.

According to Rev. Jim Slate, COPE Food Pantry chairman, “We will use this grant to purchase bulk food items from Feeding America which provides the majority of the food we distribute. Every $1,000 will provide $5,000 worth of food to those who need it the most during this crisis.” Mrs. Linda Black, director of SCCP, confirms that “Feeding America purchases are the most economical use of funds.”

“Unfortunately, another impact from job loss, exacerbated by home confinement, is increased domestic and/or sexual abuse, hence the need for increased services from Safehomes Systems, according to Interim Executive Director, Jennifer Deihl.” The agency serves a three-county region in the western part of Virginia.

With the COVID-19 distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC, their on-site sheltering capacity has been dramatically decreased. The funding will be used to support a new Text Line (since abusers are within earshot of phone calls), hotel accommodations and travel reimbursements to support clients.

Joe Wilson, Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian commented, “Blessings to these organizations for being available to support the needy in our community. Many thanks to the Presbytery of the Peaks for supporting this grant application. Thanks to all who contribute to PDA directly or via our One Great Hour of Sharing denominational collection.  We are again reminded of the power of the connectional nature of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Virginian Review

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