Local nonprofit holds first non-virtual fundraiser since pandemic while dealing with significant increase in demand

Posted at 3:29 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 14:27:19-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - COVID-19 has presented major challenges for nonprofits around the region.

Monday, people gathered at Cedar Point Country Club in Suffolk to raise money for the nonprofit ForKids.

They held a two-mile walk, tennis games, pickle ball and a golf tournament for adults.

ForKids works to help families living in poverty and end the cycle of homelessness.

There were modifications in place due to COVID-19, and they say they put in a lot of creative planning.

They gave out face masks and hand sanitizer, registration was hands-free and there were staggered tee times for the golf games.

There wasn't a party at the end of the fundraiser like they had in years past, and people brought their meals home.

Leaders say they needed to come up with activities where people could socially distance.

“It has been so hard for nonprofits who have events. Our big gala this spring had to move fully virtual, so when we were planning this, we were being really careful and prepared to cancel,” said Thaler McCormick, the CEO of ForKids.

“We also unfortunately aren’t having our party at the end of event that we usually have that’s in person; instead, everybody’s taking their meals home,” said McCormick.

“I think it is a whole new world for all of us, and I think this is a way to do it. I was just really excited to hear about it. I hope there will be a lot more events like this,” said Caroline Gatten, a Franklin resident.

McCormick said her agency has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking help in our community. She said on a busy day in the summer, they would receive between 300 and 400 calls, but now she said they are receiving between 600 and 700 per day.

She said many families are worried about being homeless after falling behind on their rent.

She say virtual events have been a lifeline for her agency and others throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but now they are looking forward to once again engage with donors face-to-face while having many safety measures in place.

“I think all nonprofits, we’re all watching what the other person does and I think with this being successful here today, it’s going to encourage nonprofits to do some of these distance activities. It’s going to be great when we can all get together again and support the best charities in this community.”

To learn more about the organization, click here.