Thursday, November 19, 2020
By Zoom from 1 p.m. to 2 pm.
All are invited. Key elements of the meeting are a presentation of our accomplishments for FY2020, volunteer recognition, and Q&A. For directions about how to access the Zoom link, click here. For questions or further information in advance, click here.
Once again this year at Holiday time FISH will be helping low-income families. We traditionally provide non-perishable foods and gifts for children, but the problems of distributing physical items during the coronavirus pandemic make this approach unworkable. So, instead, we will be providing gift cards that families can use to purchase food and toys for their children. To make this successful, we need to raise substantial sums to purchase these gift cards. If you are able to help us with this venture, you can make your donation by clicking HERE. Note, as explained below, that your donation will be tax-deductible even if you do not itemize deductions on your 2020 tax return.
It Is Now Easier to Donate to FISH in this Time of Acute Need
To encourage more charitable giving in 2020, the $2 trillion "CARES Act" reduces the after-tax cost of giving. Even if, as most people do, you take the standard deduction on your 2020 tax return, you can still claim a deduction of up to $300 for an individual and $600 for couples for cash donations to charity you make this year. This means it costs less to donate because the deduction reduces your tax bill. Normally, you have to itemize deductions to get a tax break for charitable donations.
If you give $500 or more to FISH, you may also be eligible for a 65% state tax credit. In that case, your net cost of giving will be quite low. (Click here for details.)
Please consider Herndon Reston FISH for your 2020 charitable giving and help us help our neighbors in need.
New Roles and Responsibilities for FISH Related to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Herndon-Reston FISH has been selected by Fairfax County to be a conduit for a major new federally financed program to aid residents in our communities who find themselves in financial distress as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The County's choice to designate FISH for this role reflects the confidence that the community has shown for FISH by making generous donations over the years and by our 50-year history in providing Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help to neighbors in crisis.
Our role as a source of help for neighbors in crisis is changing in a dramatic way. We have traditionally provided limited short-term emergency financial assistance to help with rent, utilities, medical expenses, etc. But the needs for this kind of assistance have obviously escalated greatly as a result of the economic collapse caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The demand for help goes far beyond what organizations like FISH could fully meet from their own limited resources. Congress recognized that these kinds of needs would arise and, as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, provided money to states and local governments to aid people facing financial hardships due to the pandemic. Fairfax County received $200 million specifically for the pandemic relief. The County allocated $20 million of these funds for distribution through its existing safety net partner organizations, including FISH, that serve communities throughout the County. FISH will receive $1.8 million to be used through December for pandemic crisis relief.
The County decides how the new funds are used and sends FISH referrals for payments to be made. All financial assistance will start with a call to the County at 703 222-0880. Some requests for FISH help do not meet the criteria the County sets for payment using the funds from the new COVID program. FISH continues to offer assistance for these cases following our normal procedures. The money to support these activities will, as usual, be the funds we raise and generous donations we continue to receive.
Our overhead costs have necessarily increased as we ramped up to handle the extraordinary number of cases we are receiving. The County grant for COVID relief covers some of that increase. But with our Bargain Loft having been shut down for several months and the annual FLING fundraiser on indefinite hold, your donations are very much needed to help assure that FISH will have sufficient resources to successfully continue our fifty-year history when the pandemic is over.
We remain committed to supporting neighbors in financial crisis, and we are grateful for the opportunity to do this on a much larger scale during the pandemic.
President, Board of Directors
The FISH Mission
To help Herndon and Reston residents cope with short-term financial crises by providing Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help.
We help stabilize lives by preventing an eviction, keeping utilities from being turned off, and helping to finance immediate medical needs.