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  • Mark Heistand, right, is the director of operations for SECOR Cares, and Kevin Fox, left, is the program specialist for Aging Resources of Douglas County. The pair stood in front of a loaded food truck headed for seniors in the community. COURTESY OF AGING RESOURCES OF DOUGLAS COUNTY

    Posted Monday, August 10, 2020 10:20 am
    Elliott Wenzler
    ewenzler@coloradocommunitymedia.com
    Douglas County Community Foundation focuses on groups affected by pandemic

    As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged businesses throughout Colorado, it's not just restaurants and malls that have been affected -- some nonprofits have also been impacted as their demands surge and donations dwindle.

    That's why the Douglas County Community Foundation, which manages and distributes charitable funds for other local nonprofits, created a recovery fund in April to help finance these organizations. In three rounds of fundraising, the group divvied up the $50,000 they garnered between 22 local nonprofits, including the Help & Hope Center, the Crisis Center, Manna Cares, SECORCares and the Castle Rock Senior Center.

    “We are deeply committed to helping our nonprofit partners that support our most vulnerable residents in both the short-term and with long-term recovery efforts,” said Allison Cusick, DCCF's director of philanthropy and community engagement.

    During the beginning of the pandemic, many of these groups saw spikes in their demands or service while seeing dips in their donations, Cusick said. Douglas County food banks alone saw a 400% increase in demand from new families seeking assistance, according to county data.

    Carrie Buchan, chief operating officer at DCCF, hopes that as the pandemic stretches on, Douglas County residents will “give where they live” more often, she said.

    “We have one of the healthiest and wealthiest communities in the U.S. but we still have need,” Buchan said. “As our community grows, the needs within our community grow.”

    One of the organizations DCCF donated to during this time is the Aging Resources of Douglas County. The organization, which started as a senior transportation program, has transformed in recent years into a multidimensional resource center for residents over 60 who are experiencing any number of issues, said Lori Gloer, ARDC's director of community engagement.

    Before the pandemic hit, the group's members had access to a companion program, handy workers for small tasks, volunteer house cleaners and help with other in-home services.

    But as the virus spread in Colorado and research showed that people over the age of 60 are at risk for the illness, the nonprofit was forced to scale back its in-person offerings. Instead, the group focused on phone call check-ins, critical transportation services for things like doctor's visits and providing essentials such as groceries, toilet paper and prescriptions to their members.

    “People are really needing help during this time,” Gloer said.

    The group, which is free to join, provides services to about 600 people, she said.

    “Our transportation expenses have gone up, so we've been fortunate to have those (DCCF) funds to help with things like that,” Gloer said. “It really came in handy.”

    Residents can sign up to be a member by visiting agingresourcesdougco.org or by calling 303-814-4300.

    “We're here to help,” Gloer said. “If there's any older adults facing issues, please reach out. We're happy to help out.”

    Donations to DCCF can be made by visiting dccf.org.

    “We are a central place for people to donate money,” Cusick said. “And we work with the community to then give it back out.”

    Keywords
    Douglas County, nonprofits, COVID-19, Elliott Wenzler

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