Houston charities see increase in need and drop in donations and need help

HOUSTON – Lots of charities across the Houston area are really starting to feel the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many are seeing a huge increase in need but a decrease in donations, putting many charities in a really tough spot, especially this time of year.

A food giveaway in southwest Houston helped hundreds of families in need Tuesday. Whataburger and the Houston Texans raised more than $140,000 for the Houston Food Bank.

“Very helpful, God is good, very awesome,” said Mary Edwards, 82, who picked up food for her grandchildren

“I work, but they’ve been cutting our hours so it’s been hard trying to make that mortgage,” said Vivian Hordge, who supports her family of four.

During the holiday season, the Houston Food Bank tries to raise enough money to keep them going through the rest of the year. And so far, Houstonians has been very giving but coronavirus has changed everything. The level of need now up at least 50%.

“One thing we worry about, and the other non-profits that I talk to, is donor fatigue. It’s understandable that people say look I’m done. Unfortunately, our work isn’t done so we need to keep going and hope the community keeps going too,” said Brian Greene, president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank.

Catholic Charities is seeing a drop in donations but a huge increase in need as well. Families needing help with rent, utilities, food and this time of year their holiday program.

“We have a 30% increase in families who have signed up for our toy drive called Share Your Blessings and at the same time we’ve had about a 50% reduction in funds or donations,” said Cynthia Colbert, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

“Definitely all the nonprofits are feeling the pinch in terms of the need is greater than ever before and for a longer period as well as our own donors are also feeling the stress of COVID-19,” Colbert said.

“COVID has caused us to think differently but to be unrelenting in our commitment to give,” said Jonita Reynolds, CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Services Association.

Gulf Coast Community Services Association helps hundreds of families with food, COVID-relief, eviction assistance, and other services. While donations are slow, Federal Cares Act money will help keep them going.

“Because those who needed us before Covid are desperately in dire straits now,” Reynolds said.

Others, like the Houston Children’s Charity, who has seen about a 45% increase in need, plans to move forward with their largest fundraiser of the year in April, amid the pandemic. They are hoping to raise about $2 million.

“Children’s needs are rising daily. We only meet those needs if we have a gala and raise the money we need to meet those needs. The majority of our money is raised at this one event. We need those numbers to fund our children’s programs otherwise we have to decrease our assistance,” said Laura Ward, president and CEO of the Houston Children’s Charity.

You can help these organizations by donating whatever you can. You can also help by volunteering your time.

Here are links with more information if you’re interested:

- Houston Children Charity

- Houston Food Bank


- Catholic Charities

For more charities in need click here.