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Nonprofits struggling amid stay-at-home orders

Camp For All, which serves 11,000 kids and adults with special needs, has lost $500,000 in revenue so far.

HOUSTON — A lot of charities are struggling right now. Because of stay-at-home orders, many have had to cancel or postpone fundraisers that keep them going.

As a result, the groups that usually provide help for our community are the ones who need help now.

Easter Seals would have had its annual fundraiser, Walk with Me Houston, at the Houston Zoo Saturday.

While the organization has shifted to offer virtual services, many of the services they bill for aren’t happening due to the pandemic.

“The revenue impact has been big. We’re at about 50 percent of our normal revenue. We have about 240 employees. It’s pretty painful,” said Elise Hough, CEO of Easter Seals of Greater Houston.

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Easter Seals helps people with disabilities, as well as veterans and military families.

Hough said some staff has been laid off and everyone has taken a pay cut.

Other nonprofits, like Camp For All in Brenham, are trying to avoid doing the same.

More than 11,000 kids and adults with special needs attend the camp every year.

“We have been closed since March 19. We will be closed through the end of May,” said Pat Sorrells, Camp For All CEO and President. “We are more than $500,000 in lost revenue right now.”

Keeping people safe and healthy is the priority, but not being able to serve the community in the way they’re used to is heartbreaking.

“My real fear is charities are the 4th largest employer in the country. We have been devastated by this. I don’t think people think of us as an employer. They think of us as just a service provider, but over 50 percent of my staff either has a disability, they are a caregiver of someone with a disability, or they are a military member,” Hough said.

She says letting go of staff means they can’t help as many people.

They say donations are the only way they’ll stay afloat.

“Help us over this hump. We don’t know what the end of this is going to look like. We’re just crossing our fingers that we aren’t going to have to close camp all together,” Sorrells said.

Camp for All has started an emergency fund to offset the lost revenue from a cancelled fundraiser and camp closure. To donate, click here.

Easter Seals’ fundraiser, Walk with Me Houston, is now a virtual walk. To register or donate, click here.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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