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Virtual Spirit Week kicks off with Albemarle Hopeline winning Spirit of Community Award

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

The Albemarle United Way kicked off its annual Spirit Week Tuesday by presenting Albemarle Hopeline with its Spirit of Community Award.

Because of COVID-19, the United Way is celebrating this year’s Spirit Week virtually via Facebook Live instead of having an awards luncheon.

Split up over three days, the United Way will present its Spirit of Giving Award today and its Partner of the Year Award on Thursday. The United Way will also announce its community investment checks on Thursday.

Albemarle Hopeline is a private and nonprofit support services agency that provides direct and preventive services to victims of family violence, sexual assault, and teen dating violence in Pasquotank, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Perquimans and Gates counties.

The Spirit of Community Award is given to United Way partner agencies that show excellence in leadership, community compassion and overall community service, said Albemarle United Way Board of Directors member and Vidant marketing manager Kelly Herr. Albemarle United Way has 24 partner agencies.

“This organization has been a beacon of hope for some of the most vulnerable in our community since 1981,” Herr said.

Albemarle Hopeline Executive Director Courtney Cottrell said the coronavirus pandemic has been an “especially trying time” for anyone that is experiencing, or has experienced, interpersonal violence. Cottrell also said Hopeline has adapted to the pandemic by offering more virtual support services.

“We have been doing this for just shy of 40 years, I don’t think we ever thought we would see months like we have seen these last few months during the pandemic,” Cottrell said. “Hopeline has been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to continue to provide crisis response, emergency shelter and support services to those who need it. We have to remember that home is not a safe place for everyone.’’

Also during the Facebook Live event, the United Way’s Monica Oakes discussed the impact the agency’s Community Care Collaborative has had on the community. Oakes is the CCC’s manager.

The CCC started last October and gives assistance to people facing a temporary emergency crisis with the goal of closing gaps among local resources to provide support to people in Pasquotank, Camden and Perquimans counties.

The CCC is primarily funded by local churches but it also receives financial help from local businesses and individuals.

“When we opened our doors, we had the vision and goal of reaching those in need in our community,” Oakes said. “We can connect them with financial resources as well as other resources that are available to them within the community.”

Oakes said CCC recently helped a single mother who had lost her job.

“We were able to help pay her rent for a month, and we partnered with another agency, Catholic Charities, and helped her get back on her feet,” Oakes said. “She secured a job and that is what we hope for. We want them to reach sustainability.”


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