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Denton nonprofits persist in their mission to help the community amid pandemic

Denton nonprofits persist in their mission to help the community amid pandemic

Denton nonprofits persist in their mission to help the community amid pandemic
August 01
17:26 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across the country, Denton nonprofits have continued to serve the community to the best of their abilities, though complications caused by the virus have led several nonprofits to tweak their normal operations.

Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home is one such organization. CPCH describes itself as a nonsecular nonprofit whose primary goals have been to keep kids safe and families together by providing safe housing, clothing, nutritious meals, full medical care, psychiatric care, weekly individual counseling, group counseling and life skills.

CPCH staff are designated as essential employees, and as such have continued to serve during the pandemic while implementing new health and safety protocols to follow guidelines set by both the Centers for Disease Control and Denton County Public Health.

“Many of our residents have experienced trauma resulting from neglect, abuse, family violence or poverty, so they are working to strengthen resilience and coping skills,” CPCH CEO and President Courtney Banatoski said. “Along with the many stressors and challenges they face ordinarily, our residents now struggle with increased worry about their health and safety, the health and safety of their friends and loved ones and possible grief and loss.”

With many individuals and families having taken hard hits to their finances, Banatoski said donations to CPCH have decreased by $16,582 when compared to 2019, which she correlates with the economic uncertainty of their donor base. In addition to decreased donations, direct costs of the coronavirus have reared its head.

“We have incurred $65,306 in unbudgeted COVID-19-related expenses March through June 2020,” Banatoski said. “These expenses include teleconferencing technology to coordinate family/CPS/CASA visits, telehealth, school assignments, COVID-19 testing expenses, food expense increases, disinfecting and personal protective equipment expenses and payroll expenses.”

CPCH is accepting donations on their website, and funds will be used to help prepare for future unforeseen repercussions of the pandemic. Their office can be found at 909 Greenlee St., and their hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

The Denton Bible Church’s local outreach ministry Vision Ministries has served Denton’s low income and homeless populations since 1991, and has also felt the impact of coronavirus.

During the start of the pandemic back in March, Vision Ministries switched to a food drive-thru operation, which they ceased in May due to not reaching their goal of meeting with people face-to-face.

“We opened back up in May with a smaller schedule on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., but now we’re open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., which were our normal hours before with the only day we haven’t added back being Wednesdays,” Vision Ministries Director Michael Pirtle said.

Outside of providing food and clothing, much of the work Vision Ministries does involves directing people to different resources in town where they can seek rental assistance, and help with job-related expenses. The ministry has also seen an increase in middle-class Denton residents coming to seek help, primarily with food assistance.

“I know we’ve had some folks that have never been in this situation before where they’ve had to ask for help before, so I’m pretty sensitive to that situation because it’s a difficult thing,” Pirtle said. “We’re prideful and it’s a hard conversation to have and it’s hard to admit, but we’ve experienced that and we have to be sensitive because it’s a new thing for some.”

To limit the spread of the virus, the ministry currently operates on a skeleton crew with little room for volunteers. The work the ministry does, however, is fully funded by the Denton Bible Church, so help from the community is mostly accepted in the form of clothes and especially food, Pirtle said.

“We can always accept food donations because our food drives have been cancelled due to the virus, and while the church has responded very well to our needs, we could always use more,” Pirtle said.

For assistance from Vision Ministries, visit their location at 626 Wainwright St., or contact them by phone at (940) 297-6860.

Denton County Friends of the Family has also carried on with providing assistance to victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Due to COVID-19, however, they have been forced to suspend 90 percent of volunteer opportunities. Limited volunteering remains available, and donations are always accepted.

“Community members can help via monetary donations and volunteering,” Director of Marketing and Development Kelly Briggs said.

Donation and volunteering information can be found on their volunteer page. Those seeking help can reach their 24-hour crisis line at (940) 382-7273 or (800) 572-4031.

Featured Image: The Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home is one of the many nonprofit organizations that continues to help the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, their office is located at 909 Greenlee St. Image by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia

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Connor Elliott

Connor Elliott

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