As the temperature changes from steamy and sultry in the fall to crisp and bracing, charities in the Golden Isles typically hold festivals and host parties and balls to raise money.
Lingering COVID-19, however, has extended social distancing into the fall prompting nonprofits to look for alternatives to their fundraising events that they hope always draw large crowds.
Among others, the International Seafarers’ Center has canceled its International Night Out after also nixing its spring golf tournament. Habitat for Humanity of Glynn County has canceled what would have been its second Hunt Ball, and the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia is not holding its Blue Jean Ball.
Vicki West, executive director of the International Seafarers’ Center, said the coronavirus has cost the organization dearly.
“Because of the [cancellations of] the two fundraisers, we’ve lost about $80,000,’’ she said.
The organization is hopeful it can make up some of the difference with the raffle of a 2020 Hyundai SEL. An anonymous donor paid for the vehicle that will be up for grabs at $30 a ticket until Oct. 29, West said.
“We pay all the taxes, all the state and federal taxes and the [property] taxes,’’ West said. “We’ll deliver anywhere in the state of Georgia.”
Although raffles aren’t something the Christian organization would normally undertake, West said, “We just felt like God put it right in our laps.
As the coronavirus hamstrung fundraising efforts, it also increased the need among the crews. Because crews aren’t allowed to leave the ships, revenue from the Seafarers’ Center’s store lagged. The store began a concierge service and is taking orders and delivering to the ships that call on the port.
Also, with crews confined to the ships, the center is losing about $1,200 a month for transporting merchant seamen from Colonels Island into Brunswick, she said.
Meanwhile, the seamen are undergoing some of the same isolation that residents of cities around the world suffered during lockdowns to contain the virus.
“Most of these seafarers haven’t been off their ships in 16 to 18 months,’’ she said.
It’s not as if they could quit and go home.
“Their contracts are for six months. They had to re-up because their home countries are closed,’’ West said.
“We’re still trying to be their respite in the storm. They need to know they’re cared about. We try to comfort them while they’re here,’’ she said.
The drawing will be live at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 on Facebook and YouTube. To learn more or donate go https://www.seafarerscenter.org.
Another organization finds itself in the same boat as the Seafarers’ Center but without a car to raffle.
“Sadly, it is doubtful we will be able to replace the full amount of donations generated by our annual fundraiser, the Blue Jean Ball,’’ said Staci D. White, spokeswoman for the Humane Society.
The organization is increasing its presence on social media to make potential donors aware of the continuing needs of the animals in its care, White said.
“Additional focus has been placed on Facebook pleas, Instagram, and mailers as well, to help with the loss of revenue so desperately needed,’’ she said.
The nonprofits aren’t going it alone. White said the Humane Society and others have shared ideas on ways to make up their losses.
White said the Humane Society is humbled by those who give for the sake of homeless dogs and cats and those who want to donate may visit the website hsscg.org/blue-jean-ball.
With the loss of its Hunt Ball, Habitat for Humanity of Glynn sent out a letter asking those who attended in 2019 to consider continuing their support, said organization spokeswoman Becca Randall.
“Each letter is packaged along with high quality, handmade Hunt Ball themed masks. We plan to have our second Hunt Ball event in fall of 2021,’’ Randall said.
The letter came from Amanda Johnson and Elaine Griffin, co-chairs of the Hunt Ball at Frederica.
The letter made clear that although the 2020 version of the ball was canceled, there will be one in fall 2021 and that the need for housing continues.
They also thanked those who attended in 2019.
“Your generous contributions helped Habitat for Humanity of Glynn County continue its mission of replacing unsafe, substandard, overcrowded residences and vacant lots with safe, decent, affordable homes for low income families who have no other hope for home ownership,’’ the letter read.
The letter also stressed that donations remain in the community and go directly toward helping “proactive families” become homeowners.
“A stable and decent home is the proven foundation upon which successful lives are built for current and subsequent generations,’’ it said.
For more information or to donate to Habitat go to https://www.hfhglynn.org/.