COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - During the coronavirus pandemic, businesses and non-profits have fallen on hard times.
Locally, that includes the House of Heroes, which has helped veterans for two decades. But now they need the public’s help to stay afloat.
Just a few weeks ago, the Chattahoochee Valley chapter of House of Heroes marked 20 years of doing home repairs for military veterans, their widows, and public safety officers. But the executive director admits with huge deficits in donations, the organization’s future is not looking good.
"In this current state, if I did not let anyone go, we could maybe last two or three more months. And then we’d have to close our doors. I feel like I’m closing the door on veterans that need so much help,” said House of Heroes Chattahoochee Valley Chapter executive director, Susan Wood,
They normally do 25 home projects March through May, but it’s been zero this time around because of no grant money and volunteers canceling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The local House of Heroes now has more than 50 projects on the waiting list, from building a ramp to ceiling damage at a military hero’s home.
“Doing minor repairs around the homes of veterans that can no longer do this work," Wood said. "They don’t have the funds to do it. We help the military so much. We do anything from painting a house to replacing a roof with grant funding. I feel like we’re letting them down. They depend on us. There’s no other organization that does what we do here in Columbus, Georgia.”
During the coronavirus outbreak, House of Heroes volunteers delivered more than 200 care packages to veterans at their homes.
As for renovation projects, Wood said they’re making it safe for volunteers to participate in smaller groups of maybe 10 or less, plus gloves and masks if needed.
“The applications [for projects] keep coming in, but without any funding, there’s no grant funding in the future that I can see. Most of the grants we usually get have just stopped,” Wood said.
Big fundraisers and donations would usually net $150,000 for the non-profit over these last three months, but instead, they’ve received only $5,000 in that time span. House of Heroes is also not included in funding from the United Way or the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley.
“If we get enough people to donate $20, we can do one of the many projects I have waiting,” Wood added.
To give to House of Heroes Chattahoochee Valley chapter, visit https://houseofheroescvc.org/.
And just announced, there’s a House of Heroes benefit run that people can sign up for, including a 4-miler or 20-mile run on the fourth of July, and you get a special medal. Or, pay $74 for the cause and run that many miles over the next month. Go to Project 42 Running’s Facebook page to sign up.