$100,000 Joint Contribution
On Friday, 31 July, Smith Martini Foundation and Lake Toxaway Charities presented Sharing House with a joint contribution for $100,000 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The grant and matching challenge grant funding is intended to allow Sharing House to meet the growing needs of Transylvania County residents during the ongoing unprecedented crisis.
Sharing House is an essential agency in meeting the basic life necessities of those who struggle in poverty. Never in its nearly 40-year history, has Sharing House been as challenged than during the pandemic where unemployment crested at 17%. During the first two months of the pandemic, Sharing House recorded a 30% increase of services, with nearly half being extended to people who have never asked for assistance before, due to a sudden loss of work.
“Unemployment is still high in Transylvania County, a statistic much like poverty in general, that remains a hidden burden in our community,” said Sharing House Executive Director Shelly Webb. “Historically, there is at least one crisis annually which throws a curve ball at normal life, like an extreme weather event. And Sharing House is always prepared to support the community through such troubling times by the discretionary funding it sets aside each year specifically for crisis response.
However, COVID-19 has disrupted our communal life beyond anyone’s imagination. Every day seems to present new barriers to providing people the basic resources for normal life,” Webb continued.
Smith Martini Foundation’s grant and Lake Toxaway Charities’ matching grant will keep people housed by providing emergency crisis funds to those in need, and put healthy meals on tables through Sharing House’s nutritional food pantry provisions. In particular, Smith Martini Foundation funding will again help over 600 children in Transylvania County put their best foot forward by providing new shoes and underwear for the beginning of the school year. With uncertainty around start of school dates, in-kind donations are also lagging so these gifts will ensure students have the tools they need to face the year regardless.
“This is an amazing gesture that couldn’t come at a better time, given that most forgiveness programs and government subsidies that have helped people weather this crisis end 1 August,” said Webb.
“Having the generous support of Smith Martini Foundation and Lake Toxaway Charities allows Sharing House to quickly step out with confidence to reassure our neighbors that there is assistance available to meet their critical need. It can make the difference between surviving and ending up in dire straits,” she said.
Founded in 1981 Sharing House is a source of compassion and crisis assistance for low-income (up to 200% above poverty line) residents of Transylvania County. It offers food and fresh produce, gently-used clothes, rent and utility assistance, household goods, camping equipment, hot showers, and a refuge of social interaction. It also empowers people to gain self-reliance, through special programs such as “Wheels to Work” and the Bridges Out of Poverty mentoring class called “Getting Ahead”. For more information go to sharinghouse.org
Established in 2017, Smith Martini Foundation embraces a set of core values that emerge from the Foundation’s mission of making a difference where a difference needs to be made. The Foundation values grants and programs that benefit women, children and animals in Western North Carolina. For more information go to smithmartinifdn.org
Since 1975, Lake Toxaway Charities has been providing the community the opportunity to ‘give back’ to those in need in Transylvania County. Its mission is to support the charities, medical outreach, and educators who work with and minister to the abused, disabled, indigent, and those with special needs in Transylvania County. For more information go to laketoxawaycharities.org
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