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El Paso County weighs funding options for volunteer-based organizations impacted by pandemic

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County Commissioners are considering additional funding for the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank and Opportunity Center for the Homeless. The groups would each receive $100,000 to allow them to continue to serve those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The virus has limited volunteers for many volunteer-based groups and pushed up staffing costs.

At the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger food bank, the money would go towards stocking food for those in need and emergency shelters.

At the Opportunity Center, it could assist in offering more shelter options for residents, so the shelters can meet CDC guidelines recommending all individuals remain six-feet apart. That could make a difference, especially as medical and sanitary supplies are hard to find.

"We're having a hard time getting the supplies that we need such as sanitizing wipes. We're faced with it, not as a family of four or five, but our family is 150 [people]," Martin said.

Deputy Director John Martin said losing volunteers has increased costs. Before the pandemic, he said it would cost roughly $20 to house a resident for one day. Now, that cost is $30.

"Volunteers are getting to be scared at this point and understandably so because they are getting concerned about their wellbeing," he said. "That does put an additional strain, including a financial strain, on shelters to operate."

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Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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