With so many people struggling financially, several nonprofit agencies in Hall County have also experienced decreased funding to assist those people.
As a result, United Way of Hall County and the North Georgia Community Foundation have partnered to create an Unmet Needs Response Fund to provide relief grants to those organizations in the county.
"We have noticed, over the past year or so, a significant increase in calls with people needing help with utilities, rent, food and those types of assistance," said Jackie Wallace, president of United Way of Hall County.
She said after talking with other county agencies, it became evident that they were also struggling to meet increasing demands to provide assistance to people in need.
Even people who have donated to United Way in the past are now on the other side seeking help, Wallace said.
"We just know that there's a great need in our community and we're trying to address it at a small level," she said.
Organizations in the county must submit a grant application by Oct. 17. The fund will provide grants up to $5,000 depending on the need.
"We know that there are many organizations in our community that are feeding people, that are helping shelter people, that are providing health care to people," Wallace said. "We don't need to reinvent the wheel. We just need to give them a little extra help so they can see a little more people."
The money granted is intended to go directly toward assistance for people in need and not to help an organization regain lost funds or to help establish a new organization.
"We want to know that there are people that they can't help and that there are unmet needs out there," Wallace said.
Currently the fund has collected $50,000 to grant organizations, but that could grow depending on donations.
"If we get strong support from the community that want to contribute to this fund, then we're happy to allocate as much as we have," Wallace said.
She said United Way and the North Georgia Community Foundation hope to make the fund an ongoing program, but it all depends on donations.
Donations can be made by sending checks or stock gifts to the North Georgia Community Foundation "Unmet Needs Response Fund" at 615F Oak St., Suite 1300, Gainesville, Ga. 30501 or by calling 770-535-7880.