By Mckenzie Moore
Families Plus, a nonprofit in Delta that focuses on ensuring the success of children from struggling families, has been taking steps to both provide resources to its existing families and be able to take on new families. The organization has received five grants since March 2020 to help with basic needs and COVID-19 relief.
“We’ve been able to be flexible, which is huge with our families because they all have different needs,” said Tabatha Godoy, outreach coordinator at Families Plus. “Families Plus overall has been able to run with the changes and make the most of this crazy situation.”
Families Plus focuses on networking within the community, matching partners who can provide help with families who need it. The need for that operation was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s always been easy for us to gather those resources from the community, but now with the COVID pandemic and those needs really amplified, it’s been great to have a source of funding where we can provide that,” Godoy said.
Two of the grants, which were from the NextFifty Initiative, gave Families Plus the ability to add a focus on supporting grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
“We are thrilled that our Parents Again Program that is designed to provide support for grandparents raising their grandchildren in our community has received this grant from NextFifty Initiative,” Godoy said. “We recognized late last year that 30 percent of the families we serve are grandparents raising their grandkids. There’s a need and growing number of grandparents that are taking on new responsibilities and have much different needs than our typical families.”
Families Plus also received grants to help with basic needs and COVID-19 resources from the El Pomar Foundation and the Help Colorado Now COVID Relief Fund; Tony Grampsas Youth Services also provided a $4,000 grant for basic needs and support for telehealth options. Families Plus needed to make a quick transition at the start of the pandemic and now offers video calls and remote connection.
In addition to helping fund payroll and general operating expenses, the basic needs grants allowed Families Plus to ensure operation of their food pantry, which provides supplemental groceries for high-risk individuals who may not be able to go to the grocery store, as well as those with food insecurity due to limited income.
“It’s been really successful and a breath of relief for a lot of our families that have been struggling to make ends meet,” Godoy said.
As the pandemic and reopening process continue to develop, Families Plus encourages anyone in the community who wants to help to contact them and join the network.
“It’s nice to connect folks in the community who are able to donate their time or goods, however they want to get involved,” Godoy said. “They have an impact on these kids’ and families’ lives, and it bridges the gap.”