NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — While many businesses across Hampton Roads are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one nonprofit is staying open.
THRIVE Peninsula in Newport News serves individuals and families facing economic hardship. Executive Director Angela York said its work is no more critical than during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We recognize that the families we serve are some of the most vulnerable to that because they're losing hours at work,” York said. “If we're not here, these families could be evicted from their homes, become homeless, or not have any food. So, we have to be here. I feel like it's not even an option.”
In addition to rent and utility assistance, THRIVE Peninsula also provides families in need with emergency food. York said there’s been a spike in requests since other local pantries have temporarily shut down.
“We are receiving extra referrals from those pantries. We're maxing out our limit every day. We're seeing about 20 families a day,“ she explained. “That's a significant amount for a relatively small food pantry.”
York said the road ahead is unclear for many on the Peninsula during this crisis, but helping people through difficult times is what THRIVE does.
“We're just gonna look for new foundations, new methods of support. We're gonna reach out through social media and our community,” said York. “To me, we have no choice but to keep going. We're gonna go until we can't go anymore. We're gonna go to the very end because we have to. It's either we stay open or families go home hungry or become evicted. And that's not OK.”
THRIVE Peninsula is asking for the community’s help so it can continue to help others.
“We need some extra hands, extra volunteers,” York said. “We also need extra food donations. We're asking the community to go on our website, look at our most-needed foods list, and try to help us keep things in stock that families desperately need.”