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Y Academy, local organizations latest to receive grants from COVID-19 Relief Fund

SALISBURY — The Rowan County United Way recently approved three more grants from the COVID-19 Relief Fund that will be distributed to local organizations.

Established earlier this year, the COVID-19 Relief Fund has been used to help local nonprofits continue providing important services to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Y Academy, Love Christian Center and Bread Riot are the latest organizations to benefit from the relief fund. To this date, $238,262 has been raised for the fund, not including a $120,000 match from the United Way. So far, the United Way has given out $166,390 from the fund for various causes and mask distributions.

The Y Academy

The Y Academy is a new program hosted by the Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA that provides children with resources and structure as they navigate new school schedules. With students only attending in person classes a couple days each week, the Y Academy seeks to give them a safe place to learn when they are out of school. 

The grant from the United Way will help provide financial aid to students and families that need it in order to attend the Y Academy.

“We have decided that we’re going to provide financial existence to low-income and working poor families because this is an expense that they didn’t have budgeted for as we looked into the school year,” said Jenny Lee, executive director of Rowan County United Way. “A lot of times their finances are already paycheck to paycheck. When their children went to public schools they didn’t have that extra expense, but now they have that expense.”

The United Way has committed to provide funding from August until December. Even though the amount of funding may change each month based on enrollment in the Y Academy, Lee said that the United Way has enough money to help cover costs for families.

“We have committed all the way until Christmas so these families know that their children are secure, they have a safe place to go and are going to be secure up until Christmas,” Lee said.

The United Way will only cover a portion of the tuition for the Y Academy.

“With the help of the United Way, we’ll be able to cover a major portion of the scholarship that we’re going to give out to the community in regards to the Y Academy,” said Richard Reinholz, Hurley YMCA executive director. “We are grateful to the United Way for their assistance.”

More information about the Y Academy can be found at www.rocabymca.org.

Love Christian Center

Love Christian Center was awarded $3,500 to purchase necessary food items and hygiene products for residents in East Spencer. The church has been operating a food pantry for several years and has been trying to expand its efforts to include more non-perishable goods.

Dwayne Burns, the organizer of the food pantry, has seen the demand for food and hygiene products increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It seems like people are in greater need. It’s a scary time,” Burns said. “No one really truly understands this or grasps this.”

The funding from Rowan County United Way will help Love Christian center meet the increased demand.

“This is really big,” Burns said. “We normally serve approximately 100 people a month. We don’t do a monthly signup. Due to COVID, it’s pretty much on a weekly basis. All of the supplies that we buy or receive we try to give out.”

Love Christian Center distributes supplies every Sunday starting around 12:30 p.m. 

More information on Love Christian center can be found by searching the church’s name on Facebook.

Bread Riot

Bread Riot, an organization that connects local farmers with people in the community who don’t have access to healthy food, will receive $3,000 from the relief fund.

The United Way provided Bread Riot with a $5,000 grant earlier this year that allowed the organization to distribute produce to those who needed it throughout the summer months.

“In the summer, what we did with the grant was we distributed food to low-income and food-insecure neighborhoods,” said Dottie Hoy, president of the Bread Riot board.

In years past, Bread Riot would partner with the Rowan-Salisbury School System to hand out fresh produce at housing developments or other locations. But this year, Bread Riot switched to a drive-by food delivery system due to health concerns.

With the new grant money from the COVID-19 Relief Fund, Bread Riot will continue to provide local food to people who are food insecure.More information on Bread Riot can be found at www.breadriot.org.

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