'I’m just grateful’: Charlotte nonprofit helping those hit hardest during pandemic

Charlotte nonprofit helping those hit hardest during pandemic

CHARLOTTE — Deja Coney only dreamed of a home to call her own, but it seemed out of reach.

In the middle of trying to land a steady job, she and her three children transitioned from sleeping in their small car to a motel, until she got the key to an apartment just last month.

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“There were nights I didn’t even go to sleep. I wondered, ‘How can I get what I need for my kids?’” Coney said.

The nonprofit Families Forward Charlotte helps people get back on their feet. Organizers immediately helped Coney with the basics until they could place her in a more permanent home.

After finally landing a new restaurant job, COVID-19 put that security in serious jeopardy. Now, Coney is out of work again thanks to widespread layoffs.

“I was happy. Like, we had our own place. I had my own income, I could afford my rent, my bills, until this hit,” she said.

FFC set out to raise $45,000 to help cover rent, utilities and other bills for 20 families, including Coney’s. Within days, they raised enough money to support those families for three months.

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Coney said it all adds up.

“This bill was for $72. This one is for internet. You know they (her kids) need internet so they can do their schoolwork,” she said.

FFC also partnered with other groups and churches to provide baskets filled with cleaning supplies, snacks and activities for kids.

“It’s really a blessing and to be able to provide this to the families, the relief has been incredible,” said FFC president Carrie Christian.

For now, Coney is confident she'll be fine. And like so many others, she’s ready to bounce back.

“For this month and next month, we should be OK. I’m just grateful,” she said.

FFC volunteers are continuing to offer counseling and mentorship through video chat for its participants.

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