How the “Silent Heroes” of HHCH are Marching On to Care for Foster Children During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business as usual for nearly every industry in the world, but it’s been especially devastating for nonprofits. One such nonprofit, Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation partner His House Children’s Home (HHCH), is a faith-based home for foster children in Miami that relies on donations and volunteer efforts to stay afloat. While things have been tough for HHCH over the past month, we have been endlessly inspired by the altruistic efforts put in every day by the organization’s dedicated staff. We checked in with them to see how they’ve been managing, and how community members can help out during this global crisis.
When the bulk of HHCH staff was told to start telecommuting full-time last month, many were worried about the future of the organization. As the largest residential campus for foster children in Florida with 232 beds, HHCH’s daily operations rely on donations. During this period of sudden economic hardship, many donors have been forced to reduce or pause their contributions, which in turn means less funding for HHCH to help the close to 100 children currently under their care.
Typically HHCH homes house between 10 and 18 kids, but due to CDC guidelines, this number had to be cut down to just 10 per house, with two houses designated as isolation homes in case of a COVID-19 outbreak. The stress of this transition has been difficult for the children, many of whom came to HHCH after dealing with years of abuse and neglect.
However, despite all the uncertainty, the horizon looks very bright. To help raise funds during this unprecedented time, HHCH is hosting a virtual 5K walk and run called “Spring for Foster Care.” Starting April 15, participants have a month to complete the walk or run on their own time, and are encouraged to take and upload selfies and videos of themselves as they do it to connect with and show support for one another.
Additionally, HHCH has created a virtual tour of their campus to show potential donors and stakeholders what’s been happening in the houses. The organization is also hosting live Q&A sessions for followers on social media and has been able to launch the Be the One Match Campaign where a donor has agreed to match dollar for dollar every gift up to $50,000!
As the pandemic rages on around them, HHCH staff members continue to go above and beyond to ensure the safety, happiness and continued healing of the children in their care. Stories abound of goodwill from HHCH employees—from working late to accepting pay cuts and volunteering to live in the COVID-19 isolation homes, the staff at HHCH is pushing through this difficult time with true grace.
When the organization ran short on face masks, one crafty employee spent his day off making 800 handmade masks to protect both the children and the staff, and as schools have moved classes online, another staff member made sure every child in the facility had access to a laptop, and took the time to teach each one how to log onto their school’s distance learning portals.
“These are the silent heroes of our organization,” said David Castrillon, Director of Development at HHCH. “It’s amazing to see our people stepping up to help however they can. If there’s ever a time we need to have our staff’s back, it’s now.”
In times like these, it’s important to appreciate the little blessings that we normally take for granted, and reach out to support organizations like HHCH that use hardships as motivation to fight for the kids they serve.
To learn more about HHCH or make a donation to help them through this difficult time, please visit their website: hhch.org/be-the-one