Jeremie and Veronica Parks
Throughout the pandemic, many people have found themselves in need of help to pay their bills or purchase necessities to keep their families sustained.
Over the past year, Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc., (YVEDDI) has seen a significant increase in requests for assistance. The community action agency administers a Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Self-Sufficiency Program and other programs designed to help low-income families in its four-county service area.
The organization has leveraged a grant from The Duke Endowment Fund along with money from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund provide assistance. The availability of the funds was advertised via digital flyers on the YVEDDI website and posted in each of the agency’s local program offices in Davie, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties.
YVEDDI client Jeremie Parks and his family are grateful recipients of the agency’s support. Jeremie’s now school-aged daughter Veronica was born with complete respiratory failure and spent her first three months in Brenner’s Children’s Hospital. During the COVID quarantine period, the Parks family decided that remote learning was the only safe option for their daughter. Jeremie resigned from his job to be available to assist his daughter.
Utilizing extended unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, and rental and utility assistance provided by YVEDDI’s Duke Endowment Fund grant, Parks and his family have managed expenses through the pandemic. “We will be forever grateful for the assistance we have received and to everyone who has worked to put these programs in place,” he said. “We cannot say thank you enough YVEDDI!”
Kathy D. Payne, YVEDDI executive director said, “The lack of income due to job loss or reduction in hours has been a crucial barrier for many of our clients during the pandemic. One of our major goals has been to assist families so that they can stay in their homes and search for employment. The Duke Endowment Funds have enabled us to meet this goal.”
Hard-hit clients are thankful for the support. “To whom it may concern,” wrote one resident. “My mother took my family in and now we have a big household, with a total of three adults and three children. This larger household has caused our power bill to increase significantly. Being able to reach out and get help from companies is a blessing. We would be so thankful to be able to have our energy bill paid.”
Another YVEDDI client said, "I’m getting unemployment right now but it just isn’t enough to cover all of the bills,” said a client. “Thank you YVEDDI! I greatly appreciate ALL of the help you have given me.”
In addition to providing assistance for paying rent and utility bills, YVEDDI utilized The Duke Endowment Funds to purchase computers to allow local youth to participate in remote learning. Computers were also provided to allow job seekers to find and apply for work online.
“YVEDDI has nailed the art of making me feel welcomed, appreciated, supported, and respected to do my best work. YVEDDI has stood apart because of their exceptionally powerful core values that resonate with everyone throughout our workforce,” said Temeka Marsh, CARES Act coordinator.
Erin Leonard is a writer in the North Carolina Community Action Association’s Communications Fellows Program. NCCAA Communications Fellows are students or recent graduates pursuing a career in communications, graphic design, IT, public policy or a related field. They receive a stipend for their participation in the program. For more information on the NCCAA Communications Fellows Program, please contact Yvette Ruffin, director of the NCCAA Communications Fellows Program.