Seven months and counting as New Hope Ministries keeps up with the pandemic level need.
“We saw a huge increase in demand for food at the beginning of the pandemic, then in the middle, as people started getting their unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, we saw demand decrease for a little while, and then as we got into the summertime and benefits started expiring, the demand has quickly started to go up again,” said Eric Saunders, executive director of New Hope Ministries.
New Hope Ministries offers seven locations and a mobile unit — covering Cumberland, Adams, and York counties — reaching deep into the communities it serves.
“Folks who had good-paying jobs, and were doing well financially, now are having to ask for help with food and housing and maybe even have lost both jobs and are really starting to struggle pretty hard,” Saunders said.
Not only does New Hope nourish bodies, it fills other basic needs too.
“Help with emergency housing needs, help with transportation, access to other social services, help with rent and utilities. We also help with employment, and we’ve gotten really creative during the pandemic with doing GED classes online, and job training programs,” Saunders said.
The nonprofit offers programs through faithful volunteers.
“Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. They do an amazing job, and yet because so many of them are seniors, we’ve lost close to two-thirds of our volunteer force during the pandemic. It has been but we’ve been blessed with hundreds of new volunteers, Saunders said.
“It feels good that I can help, and share God’s love with all these people. I’m just glad that we can do that,” volunteer George Williams said.
As New Hope Ministries navigates Covid-19, it’s seen some changes from curbside and delivery service to almost back to normal.
“In July we reopened our food pantries, by appointment, you have to say you haven’t been exposed to COVID, or keep your distance and wear a mask, but we’re welcoming the community back, and what it means to a family to be able to choose their own food,” Saunders said.
A sign of hope.
“Being able to knock on somebody’s door with a bag of food, a box of groceries, or basket of produce, and say ‘we’re your neighbors, we care about you, we want to help’, and to receive the tremendous gratitude and appreciation, somebody cared enough to check on me,” Saunders said.
New Hope Ministries is one of 90 nonprofits and charitable funds taking part in Adams County’s Day of Giving through the Virtual Giving Spree coming up on November 5th.
For more information on how you can help New Hope, click here.
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