Local nonprofit receives new pavilion to help homeless families with children

There's now a new outdoor pavilion to help families at 'Homeless No More of Columbia,' a local nonprofit that helps homeless families stay together and become self-sufficient.

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — There’s now a new outdoor pavilion to help families at ‘Homeless No More of Columbia,’ a local nonprofit that helps homeless families stay together and become self-sufficient.

The pavilion offers a space for the children to safely play and be outside while remaining socially distanced.

“We have been utilizing outside for the entire summer because of e-learning and our hybrid summer camp. And we’re gearing up for the new school year,” said Lila Anna Sauls, President and CEO of Homeless No More.

With COVID-19, there’s been an increased focus on spending time outside. The pavilion will also be used for online learning as schools resume.

“Because of the generosity of Ritedose Corporation, we now have a new pavilion where our students and our families can learn, play and enjoy the outdoors with shade,” said Sauls.

Columbia-based Ritedose Corporation partnered to build an outdoor pavilion for families that use the nonprofit’s emergency and transitional housing services. Right now, there are about 15 families and upwards of 40 children that can use the pavilion space.

“We struggle with capacity at Family Shelter. We’re landlocked, we only have so many buildings. And especially now with COVID, our families don’t want to be inside in their small rooms. So what this does is increases our footprint and it lets the children be in the fresh air,” said Sauls.

“It was probably one of the easiest decisions that I’ve had to make as CEO at Ritedose. We have been an integral part with Family Shelter for so many years, that we know what the outreach means,” said Jody Chastain, President and CEO of The Ritedose Corporation.

For both Sauls and Chastain, it means a lot to see the kids happy.

“This is a gift to the organization, but it’s specifically a gift to those children. They have embraced it, just as much as the team has. So the ‘aha’ moment has been what we feel when we see the joy on their faces,” said Sauls.

“It’s one of the times when you’re running company where you get to see what the donation actually means. And the face that you see on the kids when they know that they’re going to have a space that they can come to outside, and it’s just a natural extension for them to go on the playground and then go straight to learning. It’s very rewarding to see that,” said Chastain.

In 2018-2019, Homeless No More’s Family Emergency Shelter provided rapid response services to 173 children and 93 families.

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