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Ohio non-profits seek help to fill COVID-19 pandemic needs

61% of statewide groups reported the need to reduce program offerings to some extent.

CLEVELAND — A recent survey released by the Ohio Attorney General’s office shows charities around the state are struggling during the pandemic, and as we approach the holiday season, fewer non-profit organizations are left to fill the gap of those in need.

According to the survey, 61% of more than 7,500 non-profit respondents reported the need to reduce program offerings to some extent. Another 14% of organizations stopped providing services altogether.

As some have shut down, others have ramped up operations. A Northeast Ohio example is the Cleveland Hope Exchange. The organization has been providing groceries and help to families throughout the pandemic, and with the holidays approaching, they hope to provide special Thanksgiving meals to help promote family unity.

“It's been such a difficult year for everyone with the Cleveland hope exchange," Executive Director Megan Klint said. "We've been serving on the front lines and seeing families going through this struggle and the crisis, specifically in the area of hunger."

This year, Klint says the group plans to provide 1,500 meals to families in Northeast Ohio with the help of sponsorships and volunteers.

"By adopting a family at $50 this month, you can make a difference in that family unit," she said, adding that the meals will be given out at three separate drive-thru events to keep people safe as the pandemic rages.

"All of these families they’ve been coming for the basics month to month -- whether it’s milk, bread or vegetables and sides, and we realize the reality is they’re not going to be able to provide a turkey dinner for their families."

Both donors and those in need can get more information by visiting the Cleveland Hope Exchange website.

That’s not the only organization looking to help: Salvation Army Summit County kicked off its kettle campaign Thursday. They’re looking to raise $300,000 this year to help support its efforts to support those in need. In Summit County alone, the Salvation Army has provided quadruple the number of meals out of its food pantry this year than in 2019.

Klint says it’s clear all organizations need help.

"There has definitely a drop in giving overall," she told 3News. "I think people are confused, they’re scared, they want to help, and they don't know how.

"We've all been feeling it, we've all been experiencing it, and so hopefully during the holidays people will step up and see that together we can make a difference."

If you have the means, now’s the time to chip in and lend a helping hand to others.