Earlier this year, as the first wave of COVID-19 business closures began, people across our nation found themselves without work overnight. Sturgis was not exempt from these closures; and, as local residents watched employers close their doors, many found themselves fearful, stressed, and unsure of what the future held. With no promise of income and no stimulus plan yet in place, business closures threatened the health and security of some of our community's most vulnerable residents.
In the midst of this, GT Independence stepped in to help create a local solution for struggling residents who were impacted by COVID-19 closures. With a gift of $100,000, GT partnered with the Sturgis Area Community Foundation to establish the Sturgis Community Emergency Hardship Fund, which would go on to provide to financial assistance to working families who were struggling with unemployment due to COVID. The program created a bridge for families to receive help until unemployment and other stimulus support became available. In total, Emergency Hardship grants assisted 122 local families.
Messages of Thanks
Since then, the Community Foundation has received messages from grant recipients who are deeply grateful for the support and generosity of GT Independence and other Community Hardship Fund donors.
Today, we share their gratitude, pride for community, and their desire to "pay it forward" because of what their community made possible.
2020 has been a difficult year for so many. Our family is one that lives pay check to pay check. We make too much to qualify for any benefits such as FIP through DHHS, but we make too little to be able to save anything either. We are thankful that we are able to provide a roof over our heads and a hot meal for our children on a regular basis. When the initial shutdown happened, I was immediately in panic mode. I knew even one missed paycheck would mean the difference of having the lights on or being able to feed my family. We all understand, that once you are behind and live from one week to the next it is close to impossible to catch up. I reached out for help with a partial months house payment. I knew the need was going to be great and even though I knew my family could have benefitted from the allowed amount for a family, I didn't want to take any more than we needed. Your help through this hardship grant allowed my family to keep the roof over our head. It gave us a little leeway to be able to see where things would go and apply for unemployment. This year, I learned to swallow my pride a little and ask for help. I learned that the programs I have helped support, donated to, and referred people too for years were there for my family too. The support from organizations such as yours this year has made such an amazing difference to my family and so many others. I am proud to call Sturgis Home!!!
Both my husband and I were shut down at our work places within a week, and it was a very scary time. I own a small business here in Sturgis, and being in the service industry, if I’m unable to provide services, there’s no income for my business expenses or my contribution to our household.
I don’t have the words to express how thankful I am to the foundation, and honestly this entire community for the support they’ve shown during these hard times.
I do and I will continue to do what I can to pay it forward.
Hello, my family and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Every person that donated to the grant that we and so many other people were fortunate to receive during the hard moments. I know for my family it was awesome news when we got the call couldn't believe it. I had been laid off from work due to the virus and my wife was having health issues, and we're just blessed with a new member to the family… really stressful moments .. we used the money to pay for our bills.. Thank you to every single one of you who helped and we are truly blessed to live in a community like this one that cares for every individual no matter color or race equally ... love is a universal thing and we have to pass it on . Just like I will help the next person that's in the tough situation . Thanks again and God bless.
My wife, my two kids and I want to say thanks a lot for the help we received in March. Thanks to all the people who made this possible that my family could have meals on the table. God bless you all, thank you again.
Hello, I received a hardship grant earlier this year when covid-19 really began to hit us. I am a single mom with 4 children; ages range from 18 to 1 year. I was laid off my job with no warning and no savings. I live paycheck to paycheck; so as you can see; it was a pretty scary time. I needed groceries to feed my family and had utility bills that were past due. And even with the shut off suspended from the power companies; I saw no feasible way to catch those up if I were to continue the route I was going… The grant allowed me to feed my family and keep my energy bills at bay. It eased a lot of stress and worry and kept hope alive until I was able to get unemployment to help. I am not sure what I would have done if it were not for the help. I sincerely thank you for that.
I reached out to the Sturgis Area Community Foundation earlier this year for some financial help. I was granted a $500 grant that helped myself and my three sons survive financially during a very uncertain time in our lives. When the Covid situation began, I was laid off. I had no idea when I would be receiving child support or unemployment pay, so I was trying to be proactive in asking for help. The grant helped me pay bills and gave me some much needed relief. (I ended up not receiving any unemployment pay until July!)
I’m beyond grateful for the generous donors who helped me during a terrible time in my life.
My boys and I thank you!
During hard times, it’s often difficult to ask for help. This grant definitely helped me to feel financially safe even when it was easy to feel uncertain about the future. I’m proud to come from a city that cares about its people and the families in need.
Hello, I am writing this to give my most sincere thanks for the hardship grant my family received this year. Receiving that grant meant so much to my family. During this covid pandemic both my husband and my jobs went from working full weeks to a day off here and there then eventually my job shut completely down. I was off for more than 6 weeks and it had taken almost all of those weeks to get my unemployment approved because that system was so overloaded. With that taking so long we were just so stressed out and the hardship grant helped relieve a lot of that stress, by allowing us to take care of things we couldn’t at the moment without my income. We are very appreciative, that our family was on the receiving end of such a wonderful thing that wouldn’t have been possible without all of the wonderful donors. So thank you, from my family to all of you who helped make it possible...not only for us but others as well.
Yes, I was just writing to say thank you for the grant I received. This grant helped me and my children with food and diaper needs as well as rent and electric while waiting for unemployment to come through.
Thank you soo much for making this available for me.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY WITH THE HARDSHIP GRANT. I WAS OFF OF WORK FOR 12 WEEKS AND GETTING VERY LITTLE FROM UNEMPLOYMENT. THAT GRANT FROM YOU HELPED MY FAMILY SO MUCH! I WAS ABLE TO MAKE A HOUSE PAYMENT TO PREVENT US FROM BEING BEHIND ALSO AN ELECTRIC BILL AND PUTTING FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR MY CHILDREN. I CANT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR YOUR KINDNESS!!! THANKS AGAIN
As a resource and leader in local philanthropy, Sturgis Area Community Foundation always seeks to connect local residents like you to meaningful projects and causes you care about. If you are interested in learning more about Foundation funds, programs, or current partnerships, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.