The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation has awarded $2,500 to the Daughters of Zion Restoration Inc. to assist homeless mothers and pregnant women. The donation from Perdue Farms’ charitable giving arm is part of the company’s Delivering Hope to Our Neighbors® initiative focused on improving quality of life and building strong communities.
The nonprofit Daughters of Zion Restoration has its roots in founder and director Whitney Smith-Johnson’s own life as she experienced homelessness a decade ago.
“It was very hard, not having any resources to be able to come out of homelessness,” said Smith-Johnson, who today is a licensed therapist. “I’ve always had this dream to start a homeless shelter, and I finally walked into the opportunity.”
The organization serves Gates, Hertford, and Bertie counties in northern North Carolina. Its “Fighting for 37 Families” initiative will provide 37 pregnant women or mothers with children with hotel and gas vouchers, stipends for food, laundry, and toiletries, and case management services to obtain housing and employment.
The latter is especially important, Smith-Johnson said. “It’s about helping them find solutions to whatever’s hindering them to come out of homelessness – the sources and resources, whether it’s financial, family support, or health needs,” she said.
Kim Nechay, executive director of the Perdue Foundation, praised the work of Daughters of Zion Restoration.
“This organization does all they can to help mothers in need provide for their families on a short-term basis and get them access to other services that will aid them in the long term,” she said. “We are so happy to be able to assist them in their efforts.”