The past few months have brought many obstacles with them. But local communities and organizations rallied their supporters and rose to the challenge. Together, they created new programs and initiatives that made a big difference in the lives of those in need. For our Covid-19 Support Network, we asked you to nominate organizations that are dedicated to helping the local community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing a piece of these organization’s stories.
Due to the global pandemic, many communities are experiencing hardships — food insecurity being one of them. With local lockdowns, shortages in supermarkets, and new safety regulations, many organizations adapted their programs. Among those are the Pittman Volunteer Fire Department (Florida) and Blanchet House and Farm (Oregon). The latter created a takeaway meal service that ensures everyone can receive their food safely. They are serving up to 2,000 meals a day.
For folks having to stay at home, Federal Hill House (Rhode Island) and Boyle Street Community Services (Alberta, Canada) deliver meals, prescriptions, baby supplies, pet food, non-perishable goods, and menstrual hygiene products. Federal Hill House also offers virtual check-ins, parent educators, read-alouds on YouTube, and online educational resources.
The pandemic not only brought financial instability but also led to families and friends being separated. To combat loneliness and isolation, organizations like Compass Family Services (California) offer regular phone outreach. They also provide needed technology to families to stay connected and for kids to keep learning. Additionally, the organization sent out packages of fun and educational materials to 425 children, and created a crisis response Amazon wishlist. They also offer fresh meal deliveries, and hotel stays for the unsheltered. ForKids (Virginia) offers rent or mortgage assistance as a result of the pandemic, individual and family support, health care, and education.
Other organizations, like Maine Equal Justice (Maine), offer free income tax preparation, advocating for policies to make it easier for people to access health coverage, and working to ensure that nobody gets evicted from their home. Olympic Community Action Program (Washington) supports care workers who have lost employment due to COVID-19 related closures and those who have to quarantine.
In Puerto Rico, Fundacion Bechara started the Be Brave campaign to strengthen public health by purchasing and distributing much needed personal protection equipment.
Homeless and at-risk families are among those most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To individuals experiencing homelessness, Main Street Project (Manitoba, Canada) offers 39 isolation suites for self-isolation, self-monitoring, or as a safe place to recover from COVID-19. Shelters, like the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center (British Columbia, Canada), provide additional full services at the 24-hour emergency shelter and open washrooms at the drop-in center.