COVID-19 Relief Fund Supports Catholic Charities Drop-In Day Center with $34,000

Due to COVID-19 closures of all public spaces, those in Winona experiencing homelessness were without a safe, warm place during daytime hours. At the same time, there were individuals without access to computers, internet, and assistance with job searches. In response to this community need, Catholic Charities opened an afternoon Drop-In Day Center to complement the existing overnight warming center and provide internet and computers access for local individuals. This important initiative had no funding to finance it so Catholic Charities appealed to the Winona Community Foundation for monetary support.

A $34,000 grant from the COVID-19 Relief Fund was approved by the Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors at their November 24 board meeting. This grant will support staffing and basic supplies for the center which will be open until March 31st, Monday through Friday from 12pm-7pm, at 79 W. 3rd Street. The day center provides visitors with a warm, safe space, along with food and technology access.

About the Winona Community Foundation and the COVID-19 Relief Fund

In 1987, the Winona Community Foundation, was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and received its first gift of $2,000 that same year. Today, the Winona Community Foundation has more than $14 million in assets under management in both Foundation controlled and donor advised funds. The Foundation connects donors with causes they love through wise giving vehicles and granting.

To address a growing need for emergency funds and assistance, the Winona Community Foundation Board of Directors established the COVID-19 Relief Fund back in March of 2020. While the Winona Community Foundation does not provide direct program services, it partners with direct program providers to provide financial resources to individuals in an emergency. Almost $200,000 has been gifted to this fund with $108,000 granted out to program partners.

About Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota serves the poor and marginalized, advocates for social justice, and calls all people to the ministry of Christ. The Winona Community Warming Center opened in January 2017 under the guidance of Catholic Charities staff with much involvement and input from community volunteers. It has since expanded and grown to be a fully staffed overnight emergency shelter. The current situation with COVID-19 has highlighted the need for expanded programming into the day hours.

More Information About Day-Time Needs

Morning day-shelter hours are being offered at the Lake Lodge Shelter by a group of volunteers called Filling the Gaps Network and in partnership with the City of Winona. This shelter offers Wi-Fi access, coffee, snacks, games, and reading material.

Pictured from the left: Nancy Brown, President/CEO of Winona Community Foundation; Jerry Papenfuss and Kathy Peterson, Board members at the Winona Community Foundation; Chad Cagle, Winona Community Warming Center Coordinator; and Audrey Rivenburg, Director of Housing at Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota.