NEWTON — A one-day event grew into a now nearly 30-year-old program housed at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church — a program that is trying to survive and rebuild after COVID-19 forced the stoppage of all in-person fundraising events.


About 27 years ago Trinity Heights Respite Care in Newton became an incorporated nonprofit — respite care is time for parents to rest, recharge, and reconnect with friends and other family members. The organization provided respite care in the family home and at a monthly Parents Day Out, which offers children opportunities for socializing.


COVID-19 has put a stop to the Parent’s Day Out, but not the in-home care to families in Harvey and Marion counties.


COVID-19 has also made fundraising to support the nonprofit much more difficult.


"We lost two of our biggest fundraisers. As they continue mandates and things, that will make it harder to make it up through the end of the year," said Ashley Mabrey, executive director of Trinity Heights Respite Care.


Trinity Heights Respite Care continues to serve families who have children with special needs, from newborns to 16 year olds. The organization has been offering more hours of care to the families it serves during the pandemic.


The cost of care is subsidized. Clients pay on a sliding scale according to income.


Client fees cover about 8 to 10% of the total cost of care, so Respite Care depends on grants and donations to make up the remaining operating budget.


The organization turned to the Paycheck Protection Program funded by the federal government but those funds have been exhausted. The organization has not been able to host traditional, in-person fundraisers as COVID-19 has spread — meaning the need for new funding sources.


This fall they have turned to a new grant and funding source — Community Thrives, which creates fundraising websites for initiatives in addition to awarding grants nationwide in an attempt to raise funds.


The conservancy fund-raising site can be found at https://acommunitythrives.mightycause.com/Trinity-Heights-Respite-Care.