Jacksonville, FL. —
The pandemic has caused homeless shelters and other community organizations to change the way they help those in need.
The Clara White Mission, for example, says it’s almost closed down before, and is now asking for help from the community.
“A lot of us have been through situations where we kinda slipped off, but Clara White been doing a great job for us, helping us establish ourselves,” Army veteran Ulysses Johnson said.
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Johnson has been clean for ten years, and, he says, if it weren’t for the Clara White Mission, he’d still be living on the streets.
Johnson is one of 42 people -- primarily homeless veterans -- living at Clara White.
“I had no idea it was going to be this much help,” Johnson added.
But Clara White is asking for the community’s help, too.
“It’s the end of the year, we don’t know what 2021 is going to look like, so we are depending on volunteers to continue to help us do this work and the dollars to help keep our facilities open,” Ju’Coby Pittman, CEO of Clara White Mission, explained.
Pittman says Clara White had three big fundraising events planned, but they had to be canceled during the pandemic.
She says those events would’ve brought in much-needed money to the organization.
While Pittman says Clara White is “okay” for now, next year is a mystery.
“If it had not been for the CARES Act... and just community donors caring this holiday season, we probably wouldn’t be open,” Pittman said, adding that 70 percent of the organization’s money comes from grants.
“If something happens to those grants, which a few years ago that did happen, and we had to cut our services, and so now we’re in a pandemic,” she explained, saying that the remaining funds come from public and private supporters.
The supporters make a difference in the lives of people like Johnson.
“The key for me is to not go back to where I’ve been,” Johnson said.
With the help of Clara White Mission, he knows he has bright days ahead of him.
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