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PAWLOSKI: Don’t forget the nonprofits

Ric Pawloski is the executive director of the Ferry Street Resource Center in Niles. He can be reached at directorfsrc@gmail.com.

This is an incredible time in our history. We have never seen anything like this. Anyone who knows me knows that social distancing is not my thing. I love people and love the daily interaction that carries with it sharing of joys and pains, laughter and tears, and courage and fears. As I watch the news, it is easy to experience the negative side of these emotions. I also hear the discussions about economic stimulus packages and how we need to protect essential services. All these terms are taking on a new meaning during this strange reality we are living in.

Then I wonder if anyone is thinking about the essential services that are being provided to many in our community by the Ferry Street Resource Center and many other outstanding area nonprofits. It is through these services that many homeless are assisted, the elderly cared for, food is distributed to those who struggle to eat, and other essential needs are met. With virtually everything shut down, where are the homeless to go to get warm if the libraries, YMCAs and fast food restaurants are closed? How do you find a job when so many companies are closed and facing their own financial challenges?

Many are facing layoffs or losing the job they have, which will make emergency utility assistance, rent assistance, basic needs assistance, food stamps and cash assistance requests skyrocket. And in the middle of all that are the nonprofits that have quietly, effectively, been addressing those day to day needs for years as part of their DNA, their mission. As those needs grow as a result of the pandemic’s effects on our normalcy, nonprofits are all facing our own growing needs, difficult decisions about accessibility to our assistance and the financial health and sustainability of our own organizations.

When bailouts and emergency financial assistance are discussed, you do not hear a concern for those who are on the front line in our communities whose very existence is being threatened. Even more importantly, the existence of organizations that people in need trust to help them with tangible resources and to provide loving, caring assistance when it seems like nobody cares is in jeopardy.

Please think about these dedicated, caring agencies and their staff and volunteers when you are thinking of the impacts this situation is having. I was on a conference call recently involving many agencies in our area and the concern is deep and very real. With many fears related to job loss in our own agencies, we have concerns about losing many long-time gifted employees those who need us have come to trust and love.

Finally, the current situation has created much economic insecurity. If you are in a position to have resources that have mitigated that fear for you and your family, please consider a donation to your favorite nonprofit that you know is on the front lines working hard to help those who are much less fortunate and whose challenges will only grow in this current crisis.

We thank you.

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