A place to find shelter

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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As spring bursts forth, we find ourselves living in a strange and different world. Flowers bloom, birds sing, the sun shines — and people increasingly are isolating themselves at home to avoid an unseen enemy — the COVID-19 virus.

But what if you don’t have a safe, decent, affordable place where you can shelter?

Jayne Johnson

Prior to building with Habitat, many of our partner families lived in overcrowded and unhealthy conditions. With volunteers and donations understandably slowing to a trickle during these uncertain days, these families will need to wait even longer for construction to get back to full speed.

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Like many other businesses and organizations, Piedmont Habitat for Humanity, which serves five counties in our immediate area, has slowed down and modified how we do our work. Our two new home construction projects are moving at a snail’s pace. We are suspending all volunteer activities at both construction sites and the ReStore for the next two weeks, at least. That grieves us, but to ensure the safety of our clients, volunteers and staff, we have no other choice.

But we do ask you to remember those in need among us who are the most vulnerable to the virus: the poor, the sick, the elderly, the homeless, the jobless, those who live paycheck to paycheck and those who have no option but to continue working outside the home — regardless of the risk.

How can we help them? By praying for them, calling them, checking on them, providing food and other essentials in safe ways, and letting them know we care.

During these unprecedented days resulting from COVID-19, we are proud to be part of a community that unites in care for one another. It is such an encouragement to see towns, counties, schools, businesses, churches, community organizations, and individuals rallying together to love our neighbors.

We join in prayer for our communities, state, nation and world as we all learn to navigate these uncharted waters. Our prayer is that we may all experience the truth of Psalm 46:1 — “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Many local nonprofits expect to see a drop in contributions, as they did during the financial crisis that started in 2008.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, most nonprofits are small and community-based, serving local needs: 92% spend less than $1 million annually; 88% spend less than $500,000.

In our local communities we see nonprofits help many individuals with basic needs — food, shelter, medical care, safety, education, etc. But, we often overlook the significant contributions nonprofits make to our local economy.

So I encourage you to make a contribution during these stark times to the nonprofit of your choice. When you support a local nonprofit with your financial donation, you are not only helping individuals in need, you are supporting businesses that provide goods and services.

You can make a contribution locally to Habitat for Humanity using the following link: https://piedmonthabitat.org/ make-an-impact/donate.html

As neighbors continue to rally together and look after one another during these trying days, we thank God for the beloved communities we call home.

JAYNE JOHNSON is the executive director of Piedmont Habitat for Humanity. She can be contacted at jayne@piedmonthabitat.org or (434) 394-3001.