BRADENTON -- When she started with Manatee's Community Coalition on Homelessness center in Bradenton eight years ago, executive director Adell Erozer said 95 percent of the people using the center's services were men.
During the past three months, however, the trend turned. Erozer said the majority of those in need of the center's services are now women with children.
"The families are the hardest hit," she said.
Donations have sputtered in the still-recovering economy and helping hundreds who ask for assistance is difficult.
But thanks to a $10,000 check from Bright House Networks, the volunteers and employees at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center in Bradenton, the site of the Coalition on Homelessness, helping the needy just got a little easier.
"We try to make life a little easier for you," said Joe Durkin, Bright House senior director of corporate communications, who delivered the check.
The Manatee nonprofit received the check as part of the network's "12 Days
of Giving Campaign" on Facebook. The Coalition on Homelessness received more than 30,000 "likes" and "shares," a winning number.
"The community got together and voted and got it done," said Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston, who attended the ceremony.
Erozer said the money will be used to support the basic services the center provides, including health and dental care, food, job placement and government assistance.
Erozer said the coalition serves an average of 200 people per day and each month since September, has received over 600 applications from people requesting help. The Bright House campaign, which ran from Dec. 1-12, aimed to reward charitable organizations, like the Coalition on Homelessness. The charity with the most shares on Facebook received the $10,000 check.
"It's humbling when you hear the stories of the true nature out there," said Durkin, who also took a tour of the facility.
At the center, people in need can pick up supplies, take a shower and do their laundry. Erozer said most of the clients have jobs, but their low-income jobs aren't enough to provide the necessities.
"This will help us greatly," she said.
Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams.