Local nonprofit adapting to challenging times as numbers grow

Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, a nonprofit that has been helping those in need on the Sea Islands and downtown Charleston for 30 years, is continuing its mission – To encourage and support self-sufficiency and self-worth for people in need in our community through education, wellness, and outreach services – while taking serious precautions to protect staff, volunteers and neighbors. 

In the midst of so much uncertainty, their commitment to the community is stronger than ever. In order to safely support the community, staff and volunteers, the group is putting their focus on emergency services. At this time, all nonessential programs and services will be on hold until further notice, allowing the organization to focus on the most needed items – food and financial services.

Staff and volunteers are preselecting and prepacking food items to minimize contact at both locations. The Soup Kitchen at the Neighborhood House location is now serving pick-up only packed lunches to adhere to recommendations of the state for public gatherings. 

“We are committed, as always, to ensuring that the most vulnerable among us receive the critical support they need to not fall behind. However, we are anticipating the needs of our community members who will need it most to increase. From those vulnerable and already living paycheck to paycheck, the parent who needs to miss work due to school closures or to food and beverage employees who are now without work at all, our numbers will continue to grow. In order to meet these needs, we are calling on our community for help,” says Ericka Plater, Executive Director of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. “This is new territory for all of us. We know that an especially difficult path may lay ahead for many. But we will continue to work hard to remain a helping hand to our neighbors.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Donate Food: Donations of shelf-stable food will help families prepare for longer term impact. Donations can be brought to the Johns Island location (1684 Brownswood Road) or our downtown location, Neighborhood House (77 & 79 America Street) between 9am and 11am Monday through Friday.

Financial Contributions: As resources are directed to focus on meeting the unfolding needs and as the number of people they serve may increase, your support will help them remain responsive to this crisis. An example of an immediate financial burden they have is the need to purchase additional food to provide bag lunches in the soup kitchen.

For more information, visit www.olmoutreach.org.

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