CORONAVIRUS

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Nonprofits see increased demand, need help to meet it

The number of people unable to pay bills or even put food on the table grows every day, and that increasing demand is putting a strain on the resources for organizations that help.

“A lot of people are looking at assistance for rent, food, utilities,” said Jeannine Joy with United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee.

“We’re seeing people from the hotel industry, boating industry, fishing industry, restaurants, so we’re just seeing an influx of people,” said Philomena Pereira with Catholic Charities.

The cries for help are growing by the day.

Catholic Charities tries to help people keep up with their bills.

“We work really hard with the landlords if it’s a rent payment and we work really hard now with utilities,” Pereira said.

The United Way helps people manage the money they have.

“What we want to make sure they’re doing is they’re thinking that oh, if I go get this food for free, I have now freed up those dollars to go towards my medication for my utility bill or whatever else it may be,” Joy said.

Both agencies said with such a spike in demand, their message to us is to “help us help those in need.”

“We don’t even know what it is like. Are we in the beginning stages, middle stages, towards the latter stages of this virus,” Pereira said.

“Every little bit counts because it adds up, and collectively, you could help one of your friends, families, even coworkers,” Joy said.

IF YOU NEED HELP:

Catholic Charities: If you need assistance in any of these areas, please contact the number for your area below:

Sarasota/Manatee/DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands counties: 844-385-2407
Charlotte/Lee/Hendry/Glades counties: 844-385-2423
Collier County: 844-385-2404

Food distribution will take place only at pantry locations Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Please call the numbers above to confirm distribution.

EKG Pantry – 4235 Michigan Avenue Link, Fort Myers
Bonita Springs – 28360 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs
Judy Sullivan Center – 3174 Tamiami Trail East, Naples
Guadalupe Social Services – 211 South 9th Street, Immokalee
St. Margaret Catholic Church – 208 Dean Duff Street, Clewiston

To make a donation to Catholic Charities, click here.

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee: Call 211 or go to https://www.unitedwaylee.org/211-data-base/.

To make a donation to the United Way, click here.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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