By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Hopeloft recently announced its “Year for Hope” campaign, which aims to shine a spotlight on nonprofit organizations throughout the region that are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their intent: rallying community support.
Hopeloft, a nonprofit and Follow South Jersey’s parent organization, is looking for other nonprofits that deal with issues related to one of five specific areas: first responders, education, hunger, homeless, and foster youth, and isolation. In addition to identifying nonprofits that work with people in those five categories, Hopeloft aims to create a communication plan to raise public awareness about the organizations and increase volunteerism and overall impact on the community.
Local nonprofits facing a decline in funding, donations, and/or volunteerism are invited to apply for this campaign. Once eligible nonprofits are identified and selected, Follow South Jersey will embed one of its student journalists with the nonprofit to raise awareness and garner community support.
If you work for a nonprofit that might qualify to be part of this program, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. All partnerships will be announced within the coming weeks.
“The answer has always been the same. It’s service,” Hopeloft founder Melissa Helmbrecht said. “That is the path forward in our lives, for our community, for our country; and what’s great is that the answer is simple and we can all be a part of it.”
This year marks two tragic, but significant, milestones in our nation’s history. September 11 will mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, and Somerset County, PA that claimed 2,977 souls. Additionally, the United States reached 500,000 lives lost due to COVID-19 last week. Hopeloft’s “Year for Hope” campaign will mobilize people to volunteer, strengthen their neighborhoods as an act of remembrance, and come together in the spirit of recovery and hope.
Two of the specific problems that the “Year for Hope” campaign aims to tackle head-on are food insecurity and mental health issues exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. Projections show that approximately 50,000,000 people in the country have dealt with food insecurity since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than 40% of the United States’ population has reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and/or increased substance use at some point since the pandemic began.
Anyone interested in getting involved – whether that be by volunteering, donating, or just staying up-to-date on how the campaign is going – can visit hopeloft.com/partners to sign up for the Hopeloft newsletter and follow its social platforms.
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Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to email@example.com with “NEWS” in the subject line.