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Community support closes gap

The Hampton Roads community rallied around the ForKids organization in the month of June, helping it raise a quarter-million dollars to balance its budget.

More than 300 individuals and several community organizations and businesses donated to the homeless shelter organization in June. In the final hour of the fiscal year, with a $10,000 shortfall still remaining, the ForKids board of directors increased their personal gifts to close the gap.

“I think it is amazing how everyone rallied to support homeless families in Hampton Roads,” ForKids chief executive officer Thaler McCormick said. “We have a tremendously giving community and, once we go the word out, they responded. That tells me that raising the awareness regarding homelessness needs to be a big part of our job all year long.”

The organization operates family homeless facilities in Suffolk, Norfolk and Chesapeake, and also offers support services to help families stay in their homes. While in the shelter, adults get help with finding employment and writing budgets, and children get tutoring services.

The organization suffered this year from reduced governmental support, decreasing individual contributions and increased need. In April 2010 alone, ForKids assisted 610 individuals, including 459 children, and still was forced to turn away 248 people, which included 155 children.

Without the additional money, the board of directors feared they would have to cut programs and services, McCormick said. The organization budgets about $1.4 million to come from community donations each year — more than one-third of its $3.3 million budget.

For more information on ForKids, visit www.homesforkids.org.