Like many organizations across the country, Caring & Sharing of South Walton has seen a rapid increase in the number of people in need of food and financial assistance. The local nonprofit has risen to the occasion, serving more people than ever before, while also launching a relief fund to help other organizations in need. “While we continue serving our neighbors in need in Walton County, we also want to support other nonprofit organizations doing the same,” Harmer said. “COVID-19 has had a financial impact on many nonprofit organizations, putting the services they offer in jeopardy.”
In response to widespread requests for support, the Caring & Sharing board of directors has elected to redirect surplus funds, which had been set aside for a new building, to help the community through uncertain times. These redirected funds will enable the organization to launch the Caring & Sharing Neighborhood Fund. Once the Thrift Store reopens, the organization will dedicate 10 percent of sales to continue funding the initiative. In addition to supporting individuals in need through Caring & Sharing’s current programs, The Caring & Sharing Neighborhood Fund will also aid the efforts of other nonprofits in the community with similar missions. Gifts to the fund can now be made at: www.caringandsharingsowal.org/caring-during-covid19. The organization is currently creating a streamlined application process for local nonprofits affected by COVID-19 in need of financial support for programs that serve the community. For up-to-date information on this process, visit the Caring & Sharing website or Facebook page.
Caring & Sharing provides food, clothing, prescription, rent and utility assistance to individuals in need. Despite temporarily closing its thrift store to protect the health of clients and volunteers, Caring & Sharing has provided 745 bags of food to 382 families, 1,269 individuals, in Walton County over the last month through its drive-through food pantry operation. Additionally, they distributed more than $22,000 in funds in April to help members of the community pay rent and utility bills during these challenging times. “We are seeing a lot of people who have never needed our services before,” Carly Harmer, executive director at Caring & Sharing, said. “We are thankful for the generosity of our community, enabling us to keep up with the increased demands.”
Caring & Sharing is currently seeing clients Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in their offices at 112 Lynn Drive in Santa Rosa Beach. Those seeking services must meet USDA Guidelines to qualify for assistance and be a resident of Walton County. Unemployment is currently a qualifier. For more information about Caring & Sharing and their services, please visit www.caringandsharingsowal.org or call 850-267-2866.
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