Bridge the Gap
Bridge the Gap offers the Catholic community an opportunity to connect with local groups, organizations, schools, and parishes that need additional financial resources to help with a project or program. These funds come from individuals like you – every dollar helps these ministries Bridge the Gap to meet their goals.
The Catholic Foundation takes care to ensure all organizations and requests listed below are in alignment with our Catholic teachings and beliefs. A contribution in any amount is greatly appreciated.
Bridge The Gap: Homeless SheltersWho
The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in OhioGoal
$500,000DescriptionGive to this Need
The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio issued grants this week sending a total of nearly $500,000 to help local homeless shelters limit the spread of COVID-19 among their residents, staff, and the broader community.
Homeless shelters throughout Ohio are scrambling to obtain masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, staffing, and food. Even more critically, they need to reduce the population density within these congregate facilities to enable social distancing, and immediately move high-risk residents – seniors, people with medical conditions, pregnant women and young children – out of harm’s way.
COHHIO’s recent report Double Jeopardy found 79 percent of Ohio’s shelters lack the funding they need for interventions to reduce overcrowding in shelters, and 71 percent lack sufficient sanitation and hygiene supplies to prevent transmission of the disease. Even more alarming, 87 percent don’t have enough space to isolate and quarantine clients who show symptoms of COVID-19.
COHHIO created the Pandemic Emergency Fund with $500,000 from the organization’s rainy day fund and quickly raised over $410,000 in additional donations toward the initial goal of $1.5 million to support local homeless programs’ coronavirus response efforts through the next 30 days. One-hundred percent of the money – with no fees or administrative costs – goes to help local shelters obtain the space, staffing and supplies they need.
Executive Director Bill Faith urged concerned Ohioans to donate directly to their local shelters or contribute to the COHHIO Pandemic Emergency Fund at: https://cohhio.org/covid-19/
“This is a critical moment. The coronavirus isn’t waiting for us to get vulnerable Ohioans out of crowded shelters into safer locations,” he said, noting that a few shelter residents have already tested positive. “We are thankful so many donors have stepped up to help those who have no place to stay home during this crisis. But we still have a long way to go. We need donations from individuals, churches, businesses and foundations – philanthropy is key to bridging the gap between now and when federal assistance reaches the front lines.”
Congress’s recent coronavirus relief package included emergency funding for homeless programs, but it will be at least six to eight weeks before it is available to shelters.
“Hotels around the state are welcoming people who have no place to stay home during the pandemic, but they can’t house thousands of people for several months without getting paid,” Faith said. “Shelters operate on a shoestring budget even during normal times, and they need lots of extra help to be able to book hotel rooms for their most vulnerable residents.”
Ohio has approximately 300 homeless shelters that house over 10,000 Ohioans in overcrowded, congregate settings where the coronavirus can spread quickly. COHHIO is assessing the programs’ readiness and coordinating with regional homelessness systems to direct grants to the most critical agencies throughout the state.
A majority of the donations to the COHHIO Pandemic Emergency Fund have come from individuals. Institutional support comes from: Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; The George Gund Foundation; The Sisters of Charity of Cleveland Foundation; National Low Income Housing Coalition; The Columbus Foundation; The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation; Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; UnitedHealthcare; CareSource; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; PNC; Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Buckeye Community Hope Foundation; Affordable Housing Trust; Wallick Communities; RiverHills Bank; and the Tidwell Group.
In addition, COHHIO’s “Maskateer Brigade” is rallying churches and hobbyists to make and collect facemasks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment to distribute to shelter residents and staff. For those who would like to donate desperately needed PPE, please contact your regional homeless system.
Faith said the pandemic has highlighted a fatal flaw in America’s approach to homelessness.
“This plague has shown that homeless shelters are a public health crisis waiting to happen. In fact, they always have been,” he said. “The lesson here is that we should not just warehouse people who have no decent place to live because mass homelessness is hazardous to everyone’s health.”
COHHIO’s Pandemic Emergency Fund has so far issued grants totaling $497,600 to dozens of agencies throughout Ohio battling the twin crises of homelessness and COVID-19.
Bridge The Gap: Playground ProjectWho
St. John Paul II Early Childhood Education Center & PreschoolGoal
$20,000DescriptionGive to this Need
St. John Paul II Early Childhood Education Center is a preschool and extended child care center established in January 2019 by The Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Our new faith-based preschool uses a Catholic curriculum that focuses on developing a positive self-image in relation to our loving God for spiritual, education and social development growth. We strive to create learning experiences to nurture the unique potential of each student and foster growth in character and virtue.
As we approach our Center’s first anniversary, we see a need to establish an outdoor functioning playground for our children. We believe outdoor play is critical for young children and the developmental tasks they must achieve–exploring, risk-taking, gross motor development, improved spatial recognition and social skills–all effectively can be learned through outdoor play. While we have been financially prudent our playground concept, is outside of our allotted operating budget.
Currently, our children experience a fully fenced in area with age-appropriate toys, however, we desire to provide them with a functional, safe, and cost- efficient playground area to meet the student’s growing needs. Our dream is to purchase playground equipment, create a garden area for the children to care for their own plants and flowers, and a small grotto area with a statue of Mary to encourage prayerfulness. We are continually humbled by the generosity of our families and contributors who have donated to our school. We are currently seeking additional resources for this exciting project! We hope this playground will further enhance our school’s growth and the quality Catholic Preschool and childcare that we offer in our community.
Bridge the Gap: Bottoms Up Cargo VanWho
Bottoms Up Diaper DriveGoal
$35,000DescriptionGive to this Need
We would like to purchase a cargo van (new, Nissan NV2500), have it wrapped with our logo, etc. and use it as a tool for pick up and delivery of donated diapers as well as a tool for robust public awareness of diaper need and the existence of Bottoms Up.
The model for Bottoms Up is that we distribute donated diapers to needy families through partnership with food pantries and child care facilities. When we first started, less than a year ago, we served a couple of food pantries and distributed a small number of diapers. Today, we serve 17 agencies and this month we’ll distribute more than 10,000 diapers. The demand grows every month and we’ll likely exceed 20,000 distributed per month by the end of the year and service many more agencies. We are the sole supplier of diapers for St. Stephen’s Community House, Bishop Griffin Resource Center, supply diapers to J.O.I.N., St. Vincent’s, The Women’s Care Center, and food pantries in Clintonville, Hilliard, Pickerington, Lancaster, and others.
For more information about Bottoms Up Diaper Drive, please click here.
Bridge The Gap: Back In His Arms Again - Burial for the NeedyWho
Back In His Arms AgainGoal
$17,500DescriptionGive to this Need
Back In His Arms Again’s mission is to honor each life with a dignified and proper burial. We currently serve between 100-120 families each month in the Central Ohio area which is a sizable increase over last year. Franklin county has the highest infant mortality rate in the state of Ohio, in fact, it is the highest infant mortality rate experienced in the past 50 years. This explains why many of our families are from low income areas. Additionally, we serve an equally high number of losses under 20 weeks gestation. As the families contacting us with financial needs continues to increase, our financial resources to assist them with a simple dignified burial is continually strained. This strain has the ministry humbly searching for additional funding resources to provide these families the opportunity to bury their infant with love and dignity in accordance with our most basic Catholic value of respecting all life from conception to natural death.
Due to our current infant death rate in Central Ohio we are experiencing an increase of requests for financial assistance. We have projected the actual ministry needs will exceed $50,000 and between our current funding, generous grants, and anticipated funding from our annual fundraiser and generous supporters we are confident Back In His Arms Again can meet the increased demand for services.