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Lynchburg nonprofit calling on community as one of its biggest fundraiser is canceled

HumanKind created the 'Protect our Shortfall’ campaign to raise $60,000

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The roof of The Bank of the James building in downtown Lynchburg was empty Thursday.

Had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic, 60 people would have taken the 60-foot risk to go “Over the Edge” for one of HumanKind’s biggest fundraisers.

For years, Over the Edge has brought in $60,000 to help local families in need, but not this year.

“The need doesn’t cease just because the whole world shuts down,” explained Lauren Barnes, the organization’s community relations specialist.

A shut down that foster care caseworker Molly Gilbert said has impacted some of the organization’s most vulnerable clients.

“These children are coming to us with high emotional needs. And during this time, in addition to the emotional needs that they have their visits to biological families have been put on pause because of the virus,” said Gilbert.

Barnes said they offer more than 20 services to the Lynchburg-area and the call for immediate support has gone up 25%.

“(A) large increase of the amount of phone calls for help from our food pantry. Help for grocery gift cards. And these aren’t individuals who asking for a handout, they’re asking for somebody to bridge the gap until work comes back,” Barnes said.

To help bridge the gap, Humankind is forming a new campaign, “Protect our Shortfall,” to cover where they’ve lost.

“The children in our community still need safety and security. They still need to know there is foster care. This need is not gone anywhere and the community support for children in our community is vital,” Gilbert said.

The campaign is asking the community and businesses to donate money and help meet their $60,000 goal.