Recently, OCP was interviewed by The Citizen, Harrisonburg’s online local news source, about our finances during the pandemic. Here are our responses…. 

How is OCP weathering the financial times? 

Right away, OCP applied for and received funding from the Payroll Protection Program through our bank at Park View FCU. We also quickly got funding from The Community Foundation, Bank of America, and other organizations. We are especially thankful to our donors who have come through with special giving during this time. 

How is your fundraising going this year compared with a normal year?

It’s an unpredictable and crazy rollercoaster. We’ve lost a lot of money from fundraisers that have not happened during the first 5 months of the year. But we’ve gotten a lot of support from the government’s PPP program, The Community Foundation emergency fund, foundations, and our donors have also really stepped up. Overall, we’ve gotten enough to expand our services in the short term, hiring a few extra staff part time on a temporary basis to provide more food, more case management, and other services in three locations. All the people we’ve hired were unemployed, laid off during the pandemic. Our big focus right now is trying to get as many people as possible out of the shelter and homeless hotels so they can “shelter at home” like other folks in our community. 

Are you doing anything special to appeal to donors during the pandemic?

Just trying to keep our donors updated, which is hard, and we apologize, because we’re just so busy over the last 2 months. But so many supporters have responded and helped out before we even knew it! Our Board has been very active, and staff have been working overtime. We need a break soon before burnout starts to take us down.  

Some organizations have had to postpone fundraising events. Has Our 
Community Place had to postpone any events?

Yes, our monthly “Night Out” evening guest-chef fundraisers for January and February and March and April and May, and the Great Community Give was supposed to be in April. That is our biggest annual fundraiser over the last 2 years. But we’ve revamped our weekly “Friday Lunch Restaurant” to provide carry out service, as well as free delivery, so that is going pretty well.  

What is your operating budget and how much comes from donors?  About $350,000 per year, and 75% to 85% comes from individual, family, and small business donors and churches. 

Is there anything else you would like to say about support for Our Community Place during the pandemic?

So many agencies have closed their doors during the pandemic, and this has really affected homeless persons. But OCP has put in place strong safety protocols and we continue providing face-to-face services. No staff have tested positive, and very few homeless persons in our community have tested positive (only about 6 out of over 600 positive tests in the Harrisonburg community). We are proud of our staff and volunteers for stepping up during this time of increased danger in our work. Continued community support and our volunteers are what is allowing us to serve food 7 days a week and to be working every day on getting people into housing. We deeply appreciate the support everyone has provided.