“Like everyone else, our year started to spin wildly out of control around mid-March,” GRACE CEO Shonda Schaefer began, trying to put into words the experiences of the past 9 months.
“Throughout those confusing first weeks, and the frightening weeks after that, there was one thought that kept us going: no matter how bad things were for us, for our staff, for our volunteers, for our donors, it was infinitely worse for those we served,” she said.
Client Services statistics from the 2020 fiscal year, which ended August 31, practically speak for themselves. Total number of unduplicated individuals served during the fiscal year was 11,042.
Historically, over the past 5 years, GRACE has served an average of 5,029 unduplicated individuals each year. This equates to an average of 1,859 households.
The number of households served in the 3rd and 4th quarters of last year (March through August) increased by close to 60% over the same time last year.
Even as the recap of COVID impact shows a more than doubling of services, severe peaks led off those two quarters. Waves upon waves of new clients followed the first shut-downs.
The closures of local hotel-convention centers, the mall, airport concessions, restaurants, and bars resulted in massive layoffs and furloughs. Within a few short days, our client base grew six-times its volume compared to 2019 at the same time.
“We watched as our budget for the year poured out in just a few months,” said Shonda. “The decision to walk in faith, committing to the God-inspired mission of GRACE—even when we knew the budget couldn’t support the volumes—was a leap of faith that our leaders and board fully supported.”
While hundreds of social service agencies struggled to find a way to respond to the crisis, it was because of generous community support that GRACE became the leader in Tarrant County with unprecedented response time, referrals, and assistance.
Yet, the crisis remains. The need continues to expand at a similar pace, and many families are coming to GRACE for the very first time.
During September, Client Services interviewed 724 households—a continuation of the 60% increase over the previous year. Of those 724 households, nearly half were new to GRACE.
Client Services staff, as well as the staff in the Community Clinic, Food Pantry, Senior Services, Transitional Housing, and all GRACE services, are preparing for increases related to the upturns in COVID cases in the area.
Please give to support the ongoing Client Services efforts to serve families affected by COVID-19. Click on GRACE COVID Relief & Recovery, or call 817-305-4654.