The Camden Rotary Club’s COVID emergency task force has awarded $5,000 to Knox County Homeless Coalition to help the organization safeguard food supplies for a growing number of homeless or recently housed clients.

The grant, along with funding from the Ramlose Foundation, will finance the purchase and installation of a generator that will keep KCHC’s refrigerators and freezers functioning during power outages. The generator will also provide reliable power for the homeless shelter’s offices and living space.

“With the onset of COVID, we saw an immediate spike in requests for food; especially during the first few weeks when grocery shelves were bare, layoffs were occurring, and people were being asked to shelter in place,” said KCHC Executive Director Stephanie Primm. “Our team ramped up our food delivery systems, and this spring, we distributed food at triple, quadruple, and even higher rates compared to the previous year. We also experienced several power outages, which posed serious difficulties for our clients and us. Without electricity, we can’t ensure the safety of our food supply, use our computers, or work in an unheated office.”

Many of KCHC’s clients lack transportation, refrigeration, or both, so they rely on the organization’s deliveries of food and essential supplies. Currently, those supplies are going to family shelter residents and more than 300 clients in case management, as well as at-risk youth who frequent The Landing Place drop-in center in Rockland.

“We are deeply grateful to the Rotary Club for helping us purchase a generator,” said Primm. “This investment will help us serve clients who need our services now more than ever, and it will continue to help us provide much-needed food to clients all over Knox County.”

The club meets on Zoom at noon every Tuesday, and members of the public are welcome to attend. For access details, please contact steph.griffinsg00@gmail.com. Information about the club is available at www.camdenrotary.org.