Local Nonprofit in Jeopardy of Closing
The Alzheimer’s Family Organization (AFO) has been serving the Tampa Bay area for over 21years, providing free services to caregivers with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias (ADRD). COVID-19 has changed that.
Local Nonprofit that Supports Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers in Jeopardy of Closing
The nonprofit relies almost entirely on fundraising as their source of income. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds have completely stopped as all fundraising has come to a halt. The AFO had five major fundraisers set up for 2020 spread out over the eight-county service area: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Lake, Marion, and
In March they held their annual walk in The Villages, literally days before the state shut down due to the pandemic. The remaining four events had to be canceled.
To stretch the remaining funds, the organization has decided to close the brick and mortar office building in Spring Hill, which will allow staff to continue to do the work needed to support caregivers. The AFO developed a task force to support and educate law enforcement on how to work more successfully and safely with those individuals they encounter with ADRD, which in turn will keep law enforcement safer and reduce the incidences of individual being Baker Acted.
If the organization closes, this vital service will stop. Currently it is estimated that funds will be exhausted by Thanksgiving.
The organization has just mailed out their annual appeal in the hope that it will raise the $200,00 needed to sustain services until early summer of next year, with the hope that fundraising can resume.
Should the AFO close, countless numbers of caregivers will lose vital support and services to help them successfully care for their loved ones, such as support groups, wanderer’s reunification, education, coaching and other needed services as they walk their journey of this disease.
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs estimates that over 580,000 individuals are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Visit the AFO website,
www.alzheimersfamily.org or call 352-616-0170 for more information or to donate.
AFO Executive Director, Kathleen Winters says “The AFO has always encouraged caregivers to reach out for help as they cannot do this on their own. Now it is time for us to take our own advice. We need help and without it, we will sadly have to shut down the AFO.”
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