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Seattle nonprofit moving to crowdfunding after fundraiser canceled due to coronavirus

The nonprofit Treehouse said its fundraiser helps support more than 8,000 foster children in Washington state, but concerns over coronavirus forced them to cancel.

SEATTLE — The coronavirus outbreak is forcing many local nonprofits to cancel fundraising events due to exposure concerns.

One of those agencies is Treehouse, which supports 8,000 foster children and young adults in Washington state.

“We recently had to cancel our biggest fundraising event of the year which leaves us in a significant $500,000 shortfall,” Treehouse Chief Development Officer Jessica Ross said.

Treehouse has turned to a crowdfunding campaign to try and raise money.

Ross said Treehouse hopes the campaign raises $500,000 by March 18, the day the fundraiser was originally scheduled for. The nonprofit has donors who would match the crowdfunding dollar-for-dollar.

The virus has also impacted the ability to operate Treehouse's free store. Ross said they are taking all the recommended measures to minimize risk, and even limiting how many people can be in the store at any given time.

“[We only have] two shoppers at a time coming through, then cleaning up after before the next group comes in” she said.

The coronavirus outbreak has shut down schools and activities across the state, leaving many families with foster kids vulnerable to limited resources.

RELATED: Washington closes all schools and bans crowds during coronavirus outbreak

“When they need help, Treehouse is going to be who they turn to, and we need to prepared to meet those needs,” Ross said.

She added she’s gained a perspective on how those closures could lead to a break in routine for foster children, something that can bring back traumatic memories for many.

“Do I have a tiny glimmer or understanding of what it must be like to have everything changed, and then know it's going to change tomorrow and not know what's going to be like that you have to live in this moment. With all of that uncertainty,” she said.

Ross says that despite the unknown future, Treehouse is committed to serving the children in the community.

RELATED: Western Washington charities brace for coronavirus impacts to fundraisers