The Charlotte Community Foundation (CCF), among many others, have been following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations regarding the COVID-19. The negative impact that our local economy may face in the coming days, weeks and possibly months has the potential to be severe.

Through CCF’s Hands Up Grant (HUG), we will be providing assistance to those affected by job or income loss. Thanks to the generosity of the Founder of the Hands Up Grant, Cheryl Berlon, who has donated $25,000 in a match-up opportunity, we will be able to help our neighbors in need with emergency funds.

The Charlotte Community Foundation understands the economic hardship that is beginning to occur to an already vulnerable population. We realize that the needs may be significant based on what we have seen already.

Community Organizations Active in a Disaster (COAD) has begun creating a point of entry service for the various needs our residents may have. Beginning Friday, March 20, 2020, eligibility screenings will be done through Charlotte County 2-1-1.

Funding will range from rental/mortgage, transportation, utilities, childcare, food needs, etc. Simply call 2-1-1 or 941-205-2161. A website with more information on specific needs will be provided in the coming days.

COAD is a public/private partnership between community organizations that are activated during all types of disasters to coordinate and respond to emergent community needs.

“We are fortunate to live in a County that is responsive and has residents, like Ms. Berlon who recognize the responsibility our community has to assist those most vulnerable during a tremendous time for need. Thanks to these Donors we are in a position to offer temporary assistance to those most in need during this difficult time. This situation has the potential to continue for an indefinite period. The HUG is the beginning of a way for others in our community who wish to help to do so.”, said Ashley Maher, Executive Director of the Charlotte Community Foundation.

Please consider giving what you can to help alleviate the burden of this unprecedented situation. The first $25,000 received will be matched 1:1.

You may donate by visiting our website,, calling 941-637-0077, mailing checks payable to CCF: memo:COVID-19 HUG RESPONSE to 227 Sullivan Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950 by sending an email to for more information.

Your compassion, understanding, and a donation in any amount will be greatly appreciated. The residents of Charlotte County have always stepped up to help those affected in times of need. With the nature of this emergency the need will most likely be more widespread and could be ongoing for an unpredictable length of time. We are hopeful, of course, that we will see an end to it in a short period of time and extend a heartfelt thank you to those willing to help.