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Nonprofits feeling impact of COVID-19

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 10:29 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The impacts of rising coronavirus cases are being felt far beyond just hospitals. Nonprofits in particular are feeling the strain again as we get closer to the COVID numbers we were seeing back in winter.

“Well this latest surge has impacted both of our shelters,” said Steve Sparks, CEO of Faith Mission. “We have had active cases in both places.”

Faith Mission and Faith Refuge are home to those who have nowhere else to go, but as COVID cases climb, it’s meant extra safety precautions are back.

“It’s resurgence has really brought back some bad memories,” said Sparks. “We’ve had to go back to all of our original protocols with masks and social distancing.”

Sparks said they are currently in a good position but they are still facing challenges.

“Unfortunately, most of our housing is dormitory style so keeping people quarantined away from each other is almost impossible in a building like ours,” said Sparks.

For other nonprofits, like First Step, the state of COVID in Wichita County is concerning.

“I felt like we got lucky the last time,” said First Step Executive Director Michelle Turnbow. “We had no staff or client outbreaks and this time it seems like it’s coming on hard and strong.”

Inside First Step’s facility for domestic violence survivors, masks and distancing are once again commonplace.

Deep cleaning happens weekly and staff work split-shifts to prevent outbreaks.

Turnbow said thankfully no clients in the shelter have gotten COVID. Still, she worries that if cases continue to climb, it will impact those needing help the most.

“We’ve got elderly that need to eat, we’ve got victims that need safety, we’ve got people that need food, we’ve got people in the streets that need to go into shelters,” said Turnbow. “We’ve got all these different services here that are going to be affected.”

Both nonprofit leaders urge everyone to do their part and get vaccinated for COVID-19. They said doing that helps make sure no person has to go without the necessities like food, water or a place to stay.

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