'What do we do next?': Non-profits, as well as people, see COVID-19 struggles

Ronald McDonald House Charities
Posted at 2:37 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 21:27:49-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — COVID-19 has impacted operations for a variety of nonprofits.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi CEO Michelle Horine said its mission hasn't changed -- they are just having to make adjustments for the time being.

“All nonprofits around the world are really struggling with 'What do we do next?' and 'What does that look like?' because fundraising has virtually changed over night,” she said.

RMHC had to postpone its biggest fundraiser of the year, Men Who Cook, that was scheduled to be on April 17.

“The biggest challenge is how do you go find $400,000 to replace that event?” Horine said.

They are still hoping to host the fundraiser at a later time or even virtually, to try and fill the financial gap.

RMHC of Corpus Christi currently is housing 15 families who share the same hardship: Caring for a child with a serious illness.

“We really try hard to provide a sense of normalcy for them so that their focus can be on the health and well being of their children," she said. "But now we have to fight even harder for our families, and for funds, and for safety, than we’ve ever had to fight before.”

Over at Child Protective Services, The Rainbow Room, which is a resource room for case workers and children, is also feeling the impact of this pandemic.

Norma Pineda used to be a case worker with CPS and now oversees the Rainbow Room.

She says the group has lost some volunteers due to COVID-19 concerns but they are not currently able to take new volunteers.

They have also seen donations markedly decrease.

"We've not received hardly any donations like we used to," Pineda said. "We are in great need of diapers and wipes, if nothing else. We can always use the baby shampoo and baby rash cream."

You can find more information about donating on the Rainbow Room's Facebook page.

Inside the Ronald McDonald House, the group has had to make changes to their everyday health practices by implementing social distancing.

“Our philosophy is keeping families close and so we feel like our families can heal better when they’re together," Horine said. "So this has been challenging for all of us because we’re actually trying to do the opposite now in keeping everyone kind of separated.”

Volunteers who aren't critical to the organization's mission aren't allowed in the house because of the pandemic.

And for now, there are no groups coming in to cook meals for the families.

"But the community has been really amazing," Horine said. "They've stepped up and started providing catered dinners on a nightly basis. So we're reaching out to the community asking for groups to pull together and get those meals catered from our local restaurants. It's a win-win. It helps our local restaurants stay in business and our families enjoy coming home from the hospital to a warm meal."

If you are interested in providing a meal for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, Horine asks that you call so they can add it to the schedule. For more information, call 361-854-4073 or click here.