The nation's worsening economic crisis is hitting close to home as more area families and individuals request emergency assistance through the Spirit of Hope Fund at the Brainerd Lakes Community Foundation.
Some can't afford their prescription medication or transportation to the doctor while others are struggling to pay rent or mortgage payments, or already have lost their homes, said Mike Burton, affiliate coordinator for BLACF. These emergencies typically do not qualify for help from other charities or cannot wait for the necessary financial assistance.
The foundation's board of directors recently approved an additional $7,500 each to Bridges of Hope and the Salvation Army from the Spirit of Hope Fund to help serve this immediate need. The increased demand has diminished the fund's resources and led to a waiting list of individuals in need of support. To respond to that need, the foundation's General Fund will match every dollar donated to Spirit of Hope this holiday season up to $10,000.
"We know our neighbors are struggling right now and need our help to meet some of the most basic needs of shelter, health and transportation," Burton said. "These are tough economic times for many individuals and businesses, but this community always has risen to the call to help and I believe this holiday season will be no different."
Among recent recipients is a family of five who became homeless after the father lost his job and the couple could no longer make their house payments, Burton said. The father had found a new job and saved enough money to pay a deposit on a new place to live, but the family needed help with the first month's rent. The Salvation Army used the Spirit of Hope funding to assist this family with rental funds.
How to help
- The Brainerd Lakes Community Foundation will match dollars donated to the Spirit of Hope this holiday season up to $10,000. Spirit of Hope offers to help area residents with emergency assistance.
- Donations for the Spirit of Hope Fund may be made online at CommunityGiving.org.
- Checks made payable to the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (Spirit of Hope) can be mailed to Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 855, Nisswa, MN 56468.
The Community Foundation distributes financial assistance to local families and individuals facing a crisis through the local Salvation Army and Bridges of Hope. The Salvation Army and Bridges of Hope identify needs, accept applications and pass along the emergency funds. The Spirit of Hope Fund provide funds for a range of needs, including medical emergencies or prescriptions, transportation, gas or car repairs, food and clothing, housing and lodging, and utilities.
Donations for the Spirit of Hope Fund may be made online at CommunityGiving.org. Checks made payable to the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation (Spirit of Hope) can be mailed to Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 855, Nisswa, MN 56468.
BLACF is a public charity that attracts and administers charitable funds for the benefit of the residents of Crow Wing and Southern Cass Counties. It is one of more than 500 community foundations nationwide and is an affiliate of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, based in St. Cloud.
Other Spirit of Hope stories, include a family of four who just moved into a new residence at the end of October. They were not aware until the first cold night that their propane tank was empty. Knowing it was past business hours to receive propane to heat their home, the mother called the police department for assistance. The police department contacted the Brainerd Salvation Army corps officer and he was able to put this family up for a night in a motel with the help of the Spirit of Hope Fund. The next day, propane was delivered and the family returned home.
Difficult circumstances led a mother and her daughter to want to quickly move into the Brainerd Lakes Area. While the mother could pay the deposit for an apartment, she did not have sufficient funds to satisfy her lease in the metro area and cover the first month's rent at the new place. With the help of Bridges of Hope and the Spirit of Hope Fund, the mother received the one-time rental assistance she needed to move into a new home and make the subsequent rental payments on her own.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.