Pope Foundation steps up, helps three in Vance County

Oct. 23, 2013 @ 09:24 PM

Local non-profits and faith-based organizations took a hit when the federal government closed for 16 days.

The John William Pope Foundation made its yearly donations to Vance County charities a few months early this year to help offset the impact of the shutdown.

“We heard on the ground that the federal government shutdown was having an effect on these charities doing this humanitarian work and what we decided to do was to expedite our end of the year funding to cover the shortfall caused by the shutdown,” said David Riggs of the Pope Foundation.

The foundation is a private family foundation focused on humanitarian charities in Wake and Vance counties.

The foundation donated $5,000 to Area Christians Together in Service, $10,000 to Life Line Outreach Inc. and $20,000 to the United Way of Vance County.

Twanna Jones, executive director of ACTS, said her organization has not received a Pope Foundation grant in the past.

“They heard about the great work that we were doing in the Vance County community,” Jones said.

ACTS provides a daily soup kitchen on weekdays, a food pantry, backpack buddies, and Meals on Wheels for the disabled and elderly.

Jones has plans to expand her operation with a mobile feeding program that supplies meals to all areas of need.

She said the grant money would help with the expansion as well as day-to-day operations.

“My goal is to have a seven-day a week soup kitchen that feeds twice a day,” Jones said.

For the first time this year, ACTS will serve lunch on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to noon.

After the meal, Jones said volunteers would transport meals while others go door-to-door in the community with turkey sandwiches.

“I wanted all of this to be going on at the same time,” Jones said of her Thanksgiving Day plans.

The United Way and Life Line receive annual donations from the Pope Foundation, but this year the contributions were more than usual.

“The increase blew my mind,” said Nancy Gray, executive director of the United Way in Vance County. “They doubled the amount they normally send.”

Gray said the United Way would likely use the money to support its early reading initiative that began this year as an effort to improve third-graders’ reading skills in Vance County Schools.

“This money will go a long way in helping us,” she said. “We are very excited and very appreciative.”

Life Line’s Dorothy Hunt, the executive director, also expressed her gratitude.

“The Pope Foundation was very generous because as I explained to them what we needed, they were willing to accommodate,” Hunt said.

Hunt said the grant money received would fund needed repairs for two residences where women and children stay.

“We are also buying baby formula and meat,” Hunt said. “We have not been able to get meat like we need to, lately.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.