By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
A single father walks into Frisco Family Services with his two daughters, both under the age of 5. The COVID-19 pandemic cost him his job and his marriage. For the first time in his life, he needs help with essentials like rent, utilities and food.
Like more than 800 other first-time clients who have walked through the door at Frisco Family Services since March 2020, he had to swallow his pride without knowing what, if any, assistance the nonprofit could provide.
As his young children played – innocent to the magnitude of the situation – Nicole Bursey, Executive Director of Frisco Family Services, lifted the weight of the world off his shoulders.
“We haven’t had to turn away anybody because of lack of resources,” Nicole said. “We’re able to say, ‘We’ve got your utilities covered, and we’ll cover a portion of your rent.’ ”
A big reason why Frisco Family Services never turns anyone away is the CoServ Charitable Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which has made numerous contributions to FFS over the past year, including a $25,000 contribution in December.
In total, the fund has designated $527,000 in Operation Roundup® funds to CoServ’s social service agency partners in North Texas since April 2020, when CCF focused on providing COVID relief to CoServ households.
“The support from the foundation has been huge for us, particularly with helping us help families with essential needs so they don’t get evicted, have their home foreclosed on or have utilities disconnected,” Nicole said. “You all have been so involved and such a support for 20 years now and that support brings hope to families.”
And the need has never been greater.
In December alone, FFS provided $87,000 in emergency assistance for rent and utilities as the federal moratorium on evictions was set to expire at the end of the year. That’s more than four times the amount needed in December 2019.
Frisco Family Services also provided a half-million meals from March through December 2020.
While contributing to social service agencies through the CCF Relief Fund provided critical aid to CoServ families, the foundation’s main method of assistance – since its creation in 2004 – has been distributing grants to nonprofits and other organizations throughout North Texas.
After pivoting in the spring of 2020 to provide COVID relief, the CCF Board in the fall resumed accepting grant applications that focused on meeting basic human needs. In January 2021, CCF began distributing $392,000 in grants to 21 North Texas organizations.
Jessica Craft, CCF and Outreach Coordinator, let the recipients know they had been approved for grants in the days leading up to Christmas. The phone calls were emotional – but joyful.
“Hearing the exhaustion and tears of relief on the other end of the call is why the foundation and nonprofits exist – to give support to those who seek assistance when someone is unable to help themselves,” Jessica said. “You know in that moment that the driving force for making our communities stronger and better is found in one’s heart.”