SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -When downtown Savannah residents opened their homes in December, they were thinking about Christmas, not crisis.
But the Annual Holiday Tour of Homes, sponsored by the Downtown Neighborhood Association, is now making a difference during the pandemic.
The DNA has distributed the proceeds from the tour to more than a dozen local community organizations. That’s $45,000 that is going to non-profits that are helping people directly, all of which have been impacted by the health crisis. 100 percent of the proceeds from the Tour of Homes always goes back into the community in the form of grants. This year, the DNA thought it was important to help organizations that are helping particular segments of the community.
“This year we were able to pick out 17 organizations that were worthy,” says David McDonald, President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. “This year we focused, because of COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on our community, we focused solely on organizations that provided food distribution, education and training for our youth to keep them occupied during the summer and on organizations that provide youth or adult counseling because of being shut-ins and the change and the way life is. So, we thought those three activities will support what the community actually needs.”
“We’re super excited to get this donation from the Downtown Neighborhood Association,” said Julie Wade. Wade is the Executive Director of Park Place Outreach. “It couldn’t have come at a better time, I think I got the call three weeks ago. At Park Place Outreach, remains in business, we are continuing to provide shelter for our homeless teens through transitional living. So, we’re still up and running and have the same expenses plus, so it’s really, really helpful.”
The DNA grants will be especially helpful now as many businesses being closed for all of April impacting the support local organizations have received.
“Of course everyone is worried about fundraising coming up,” says Wade. “There were lots of events in the spring that were canceled and looking into fall, who knows what we’re looking at. So, having this grant fund, just knowing the money is there, it means so much to everyone. I know there are several of our homeless provider partners on there, I saw Emmaus House, Inner City Night Shelter on the list All of those organizations are working double time during this crisis.”
“We are in awe of the organizations that are providing support to our community,” said McDonald. "The food distribution, you see the lines, you see the need from people not working and the income being lost. We’re in awe of the organizations, we’re proud to help support those organizations that help our community.
This year’s Tour of Homes is still scheduled for December Saturday 5th
The organizations that received money were:
- Chatham County Family Justice Center, $3,000
- DEEP Center, $3,00
- Emmaus House Soup Kitchen, $1,000
- Forsyth Farmer’s Marker, $1,600
- Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club, $3,500
- The Front Porch, $2,500
- Friends of Massie, $600
- Heads Up Guidance Services, $2,500
- Horizons Savannah, $2,000
- Inner City Night Shelter, $3,500
- Loop It Up Savannah, $3,000
- Park Place Outreach, $5,000
- Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire, $2,500
- Savannah Children’s Choir, $2,500
- Thomas Park Food Pantry, $3,000
- Urban Hope, $5,000
- WRUU-LP Savannah Community Radio, $600