Wednesday afternoon, a few people from Duke Energy, including leadership, toured the Oak City Cares facility in Raleigh after gifting the organization a portion of a $1 million dollar grant.
"This gift came at the right time," said Oak City Cares executive director Kathy Johnson. "A lot of folks out there in the community who were just teetering before are now teetered over and just need the kind of assistance we provide at Oak City Cares or maybe just getting ready to teeter over."
The gift comes as area nonprofits said they are experiencing an increase in need from the community.
In fact, OCC said they are seeing a nearly 97% increase in the number of people they are serving this year compared to last year.
"And Don't give up."
The facility helps people experiencing homelessness get back on their feet and provides access to basic services, all in one location.
"You know, like I always joke and play around with them (guests). Don't say you gon' do it. Do it," said OCC employee Otis Whitaker. "And don't give up because sometimes it seems like it's hard. Everything pushing you to the ground. But just lift yourself up and keep going." Back in 2019, Whitaker was experiencing homelessness and came to the facility to get help.
Over time, he found himself living onsite and volunteering. It wasn't long before he was offered a job and is now employed by the organization.
"Because a lot of people once they come through the door, they don't know. They sit there, they try to think what do y'all do? And what do y'all offer," said Whitaker. "So it makes me feel good to explain what they need and what we have to offer them."
Just several miles away on Raleigh Boulevard, the Catholic Parish Outreach Food Pantry gives out food to more than 100 families each day they offer food to people in need.
Raleigh resident Juan Villeras told Eyewitness News he just paid his rent and stopped by to get food for him and his family.
"We really need this," said Villeras. "We are working, but the rent we pay is very expensive. Add to that the water, the electricity, the phone. That's why we need the food."
His food box was full of produce, vegetables, bread, and other non-perishable items.
"In our mind, if you eat, and you have a need, we're going to feed you," said executive director Kelly Rappl. "Food is the most basic need."