Last week, GRACE made a call for support in a time of need. Without hesitation, you answered that call. We have seen an influx of donations to our Food Pantry in the past few days, and we cannot express how grateful we are or what an impact you have made.
For all those who donated, thank you! With that being said, an update on the status of our Pantry shelves is in order:
May 31st marked the end of the fiscal Third Quarter for GRACE. Just like the grim economic predictions facing our country, the Final Quarter of FY22 at GRACE begins with some worrisome trends.
Some continue to be COVID-related. Prior to March 2020, and dating back to FY13, GRACE averaged 5,000 new, unduplicated clients per year. In the COVID year, we saw a jump to 11,000.
After this initial massive inflow of new clients caused by the mandated shutdowns and cutbacks of 2020, GRACE estimated that in 2021 the number of clients seeking assistance would stabilize to pre-pandemic levels. However, contrary to these estimates, the volume continued to rise and GRACE served 12,311 clients in the fiscal year ending August 2021. This year, through three quarters of FY22, GRACE has welcomed 10,917 clients.
If the trend holds for these final three months, GRACE will have served more than 14,500 new, unduplicated clients this year.
And then there is the economy. Higher prices at the gas pumps make the news nearly every day. But inflation does not stop there–with only rare exceptions, price increases are occurring across the board.
In our area with the cost-of-living already high, even moderate increases can amount to a budgetary crisis for many of our families. Yet, our families must live where they work. More than three-quarters of our clients have jobs, and they want nothing more than to make better lives for themselves and their families. At the mall, the airport, the convention hotels, restaurants, all are grateful work has returned after the lay-offs and furloughs. Now, though, their struggles are compounded by the simple act of driving back and forth to work and providing the necessities of life for their families. The need for GRACE services compounds as well.
GRACE, too, is not immune from the economic downturn. Corporate and individual donations are dropping. Understandably, many are hesitating to support their local charities until order is restored to the economy, and the value of their investment portfolios return. For GRACE, those in need continue to come through our doors. In record numbers. For escalating needs.
Next week, we will bring this case to our community. Please look for our Red Letter mid-week that will outline our needs and present our solutions to keep our clients—our friends and neighbors—whole, and on the road to self-sufficiency.