Home of the Sparrow, an organization that helps homeless women and children, is facing the financial struggles the pandemic has created. The organization has had to change existing fundraisers and create new ones to help raise money.

“COVID-19 has really impacted Home of the Sparrow,” Jennifer Kolarczyk, event and volunteer program manager, said in a statement. The organization has been around for more than 34 years, serving homeless women and children in McHenry County and northern Illinois.

The organization's thrift stores were closed for about 12 weeks, and the spring fundraising events had to be canceled. This “was very stressful for our agency, since we count on our stores and our fundraisers to support our mission,” Kolarczyk said.

“However, while the world around us is on pause, homelessness does not stop. Neither does the work we do to provide families with shelter and services when they need it most,” Kolarczyk said.

To keep families safe, several have moved off the organization's property to other temporary living situations. Kolarczyk said that clients still are receiving case management and services virtually.

In years past, Home of the Sparrow would host its Hope Benefit in April followed by its Celebration of Women Luncheon in May. Both of these events are accompanied by an online auction.

Because of both cancellations, the organization is hosting a COVID Relief Online Auction. The auction recently started and will close at 8 p.m. July 23.

“With over 80 packages, there is something for everyone, including trips to Walt Disney World, Vegas and Nashville, golf foursomes, date nights, relaxing spa packages, local getaways, brewery tours, dine-arounds, wine tastings, family fun, girls' night out, beautiful jewelry and more,” Kolarczyk said. To view the auction, go to https://e.givesmart.com/events/hlG.

The 15th annual Oktoberfest Golf Outing is set for Sept. 14 at Bull Valley Golf Club. There will be tee times to allow for social distancing.

“The day includes a round of golf scramble style with cart, fun contests, boxed lunch, free beer and a fabulous online silent auction,” Kolarczyk said. Registration will cost $150 a golfer. To register, go to e.givesmart.com/events/fmm.

The first Fall Harvest Virtual 5K Walk/Run will be held this year. Home of the Sparrow still is working out the details on the walk, including a registration fee.

“Participating in our virtual walk/run gives everyone the chance to do something fun and safe, while still practicing social distancing,” Kolarczyk said. “Form a team with your family, ask your friends to join your team or sign up as an individual and walk with your dog.”

Home of the Sparrow was able to help more than 450 women and children last year, Kolarczyk said. Of those who exit their transitional shelter, 97% find permanent housing, Kolarczyk said.

“Home of the Sparrow is incredibly grateful to everyone in the community, including our corporate sponsors, local businesses, individual donors and volunteers who continually support our organization each year,” Kolarczyk said. “Together, we can continue to change the lives of homeless women and children in our community.”