The Daily News talked to three local organizations to find out how they are affected and how the public can help keep them viable.

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As the coronavirus crisis ripples through the community, non-profit organizations are worried about the impact on their missions.


The Daily News talked to three local organizations to find out how they are affected and how the public can help keep them viable.


PAWS


The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society has seen a decrease in the number of people visiting the shelter to adopt, said Lorraine Whetstone, who is the fundraising, events and volunteer coordinator for PAWS.


Although fewer dogs are being adopted, more are coming in. Twenty more dogs have already been surrendered to the shelter this month than last.


► PHOTOS: These PAWS pups could use a forever home


While there is no way to confirm coronavirus is the direct cause, Whetstone said in times of recession, some owners can’t afford to keep the family pet.


Sleepless nights are becoming routine for Whetstone, who said the shelter only has so much space. The shelter instituted an emergency fostering program and began pushing its doggy dates program.


“We do everything that we can,”Whetstone said.


The shelter is taking proactive measures to encourage adopters are safe from COVID-19. Chairs are situated outside the shelter where adopters can wait six feet away while they wait to view dogs. Two people are allowed in the kennel area at one time.


Because of the attendance numbers, many of the events hosted by PAWS have been canceled.


“Fundraisers are our life blood,” Whetstone said.


Without fundraisers dogs also lose an opportunity to be seen in public by potential adopter.


Emerald Coast Fitness Foundation


The Emerald Coast Fitness Foundation co-founder and treasurer Kathi Heapy fears the unknown.


On Friday Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all fitness centers to close its doors to the public until further notice, which included the ECFF’s two community pools. One is in Fort Walton Beach and the other in Destin. Both are located in the former YMCA facilities.


► MARCH 18, 2020: Emerald Coast Fitness Foundation transforms local aquatic community


Heapy said she has no idea when the organization will be able to reopen the aquatic centers. Without the revenue from swimmers and community members who use the pools, ECFF will struggle to pay its fixed costs such as utilities and maintenance, she said.


On Saturday, the day after the closure notice came, Heapy started an online fundraiser for the non-profit asking for donations through a link on ECFF’s Facebook page and website.


Some donations came in the same day. Heapy is hoping that trend continues.


“This community has been tremendously helpful and supportive,” she said.


Destin Harvest


Destin Harvest Inc is also reeling from the effects of COVID-19.


The local non-profit receives donations from the surplus of grocery stores in the community and delivers that surplus to food banks, soup kitchens and other feeding programs.


► NOV. 12, 2019: Destin Harvest to use $100,000 grant from IMPACT 100 to feed more people


The rise in food hoarding has led to the decrease in food allotments for those organizations, said Chris Leavenworth, executive director of Destin Harvest Inc.


He thinks once people stop panic-buying large quantities of food, the surplus will increase. But he is concerned that the numbers of those needing food will increase as well.


Many people are asking how they can help, he said. He encourages those with an abundance of grocery products to contact their local food pantry.