Tragedy Turns Into Action

by | Sep 10, 2021 | COVID-19, Faith-Based, Health & Human Services | 0 comments

Challenges test our resolve, but overcoming them gives life meaning. Ask Dolores and Allen Mortimer. Their son and nephew died in a car accident in 2005. Two years later, the Mortimers founded the House of Mercy and Encouragement Foundation (HOME) based in Dunedin.

As a licensed mental health counselor, Dolores saw how depression and anxiety consumed their son before his accident. She felt God steering her to help others in need of mental health therapy.

This resolve led her to create HOME. The faith-based agency provides mental health and learning services for children and their families regardless of color, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.

Back then, Dolores could not imagine that, in 13 years, HOME would provide 18,647 mental health therapy sessions for individuals and their families in Pinellas County. Even as Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF) helped HOME with annual operating costs through the PCF Faith Mission Grant, nothing prepared HOME for the impact of the pandemic.

Children who normally do well in school can be overwhelmed with online school and often shut down. Dolores Mortimer, House of Mercy and Encouragement Foundation Founder

“COVID took its toll on children and families,” said Dolores, who needed funds to purchase laptops and technology for telehealth sessions; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep safe children, families, and staff; and to provide scholarships for services to the uninsured and underinsured.

Because HOME provides mental health services, the agency qualified for the Pinellas CARES Nonprofit Partnership Fund. Created by the CARES Act and administered through PCF, the fund addresses the needs of those whose health and well-being have been impacted by the pandemic.

With heightened anxiety among children and families, their need for mental health counseling was more intense. “Children who normally do well in school can be overwhelmed with online school and often shut down,” said Dolores.

HOME adapted to a new normal thanks to a $52,000 grant from the Pinellas CARES Nonprofit Partnership Fund. “I will be eternally grateful to PCF,” said Dolores. For more information, visit the HOME website.

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