Everyday we wake up to suffering and pain at a scale our country has never experienced. People of color are disproportionately impacted by COVID19 not because of biology, but because of racial inequities across all dimensions of our society: employment, food, medical care, housing, education.
A despair has descended that demands systems solutions while we simultaneously meet the emergency of immediate needs across the country. The health and economic crisis created by COVID19 requires all Americans to engage at a level of their personal best. While net worths are diminished, philanthropists must lean in quickly or this tragedy will be even harder to overcome. Below is a list of organizations on the front lines, addressing our nation’s greatest needs by supporting our most vulnerable.
The COVID-19 global pandemic, and our collective response to it, is a pivotal moment in human history and those on the front lines need our support right now. Pivotal Moments and HUNGRY have joined forces to enable fully tax-deductible donations to fund the purchase of healthy, local, chef-prepared meals to those working long hours, in dangerous conditions, without access to quality food.
Your donation will help the physical and mental wellbeing of front line workers and their families, who are under tremendous stress and anxiety: quality food for themselves and their families while they fight on the front lines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has unfurled a wave of school closures around the country. Families are overwhelmed. Many have lost jobs and a steady income, while others are struggling to juggle work demands with their children’s care and education. This public health and economic crisis has shined a light on just how vital schools are to our children’s lives: they not only teach our kids, they feed them. In the wake of these closures, school communities are mobilizing to make sure the nearly 30 million children who rely on schools for their nutrition don’t go hungry.
FoodCorps is in the first laps of what we know will be a longer-term marathon as we reorient our work to meet the needs of this crisis and rebuild a more equitable society on the other side. That means leaning into emergency food access work in the immediate term, and taking strong steps through our policy team to see our nation's school food system emerge from this crisis able to provide good nutrition to children through the long recovery. We are raising a $10M fund to support this effort.
NKH has provided more than $5 million in emergency grant funding to schools and community groups across the country feeding children during the pandemic. With the help of these grants, programs plan to serve 2.1 million healthy meals a day during this crisis. This is the first phase of an ongoing multi-million-dollar response, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure no child misses a meal.
We’re also on Capitol Hill working with lawmakers to support low-income families through aid and stimulus packages, and our field staff across the country are working with local governments and city councils to get kids food.
1. Delivering Fresh Meals:
WCK is working across America to safely distribute individually packaged fresh meals in communities that need support, for children and families to pick up and take home, as well as delivered to seniors who cannot venture outside. We're now serving tens of thousands of meals daily in New York City, Washington DC, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Newark, Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Puerto Rico, and USVI — with more to come.
2. Putting Restaurants Back to Work:
WCK is in the process of integrating into our food relief efforts restaurants and meal delivery companies so we have large-scale, distributed reach, while also supporting the industries that are suffering. #ChefsForAmerica is evolving into a coalition of restaurants and tech companies working together to provide meals to Americans that need assistance. This nationwide, scalable effort will feed those in need, as well as guarantee a reliable and recurring stream of revenue for restaurants that are prepared to safely produce nutritious meals — and provide income to delivery drivers.
3. Feeding Frontline Healthcare Workers:
WCK has joined forces with initiatives across America to deliver fresh, hot meals to hospitals and clinics fighting on the frontlines.
4. Mapping Feeding Efforts:
In order to take action, we need to know what’s happening and where gaps exist. There is incredible work going on across America to feed students, seniors, and vulnerable communities. We are mapping out all of the school districts, restaurants offering meals to those in need, and organizations working to keep people fed.
In addition to food distributed through our partner network, the food bank operates a variety of distribution programs, providing food directly to children, families, seniors, and other individuals in need. The food bank has modified and consolidated service, providing food in the following ways:
After School Meals: hot meal normally eaten on site has been replaced with a cold “to-go” meal that children can pick up and eat at home.
Senior Programs: monthly distribution of supplemental bagged/boxed shelf stable groceries through its Grocery Plus and My Groceries to Go locations and Senior Brown Bag locations that are remaining open at this time.
Pop-Up Pantries: for people without the funds to buy adequate food, and who would ordinarily seek help from a food pantry.
YOUTH AND FAMILIES
In the months ahead, vulnerable families will be among the hardest hit by COVID19. Sudden changes in the economy, combined with social isolation, will put additional strain on countless families who were already struggling to care for their children. In response, jurisdictions are going to need to build even stronger systems to support children and families.
Foster America is well positioned to help. The skills and experience Foster America fellows bring—strategically tackling interdisciplinary problems, utilizing data and applying the latest technology in new ways, braiding funds across government silos—are some of the very skills their host agencies need to quickly design and scale up innovative solutions. Many Foster America fellows on the ground are already stepping up to support their agencies’ response to the crisis. We need resources to deploy more.
In partnership with US Department of Health and Human Services' Children’s Bureau, and other state and local actors, TOU is serving as an emergency command center to coordinate and steward resources to high-risk foster youth across the nation--those that are immunocompromised, those that are transitioning out of the child welfare system in the near-term, and those experiencing other vulnerable circumstances (e.g., economic insecurity, living with high-risk foster parents, etc.).
At the federal level TOU is primarily working with the Acting Commissioner of HHS’s Children’s Bureau to provide strategic guidance and insights on how technology can be effectively deployed to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
At the state and local level TOU is working with multiple states & local jurisdictions (e.g., California, New York, and Washington) to develop strategies and solutions to help young people with compromised immune systems or underlying health challenges.
Family Independence Initiative
In collaboration with the Stand Together Foundation, Family Independence Initiative (FII) has launched #GiveTogetherNow, a national campaign to raise money ($10M goal) for workers and families suffering financially in the wake of COVID-19, leveraging FII’s UpTogether platform as the means for families to apply for, and receive, cash payments quickly. This approach embodies FII’s core tenets of trusting and investing in people struggling with poverty. People in our communities need money and they need it now. Unrestricted cash transfers empower individuals to pay for what they need most, be it food, an electricity bill, childcare or medical expenses. "Just like you, these families know what’s most important for themselves and they will steward the dollars responsibly."
In addition to the immediate impact of easing their financial burden and relieving stress, research shows that cash transfers have a significant long-term impact on people’s livelihoods and can stimulate demand for goods and services in local economies, leading to quicker recovery for communities overall.
Flattening the curve of COVID-19 requires a multi-disciplinary approach where healthcare, government, and community all play a role. But the impact of this pandemic extends far beyond the illness itself – and right now, another demand curve shows the secondary impacts of COVID-19 are already starting to surge. While this pandemic will put unprecedented pressure on our health care system, the aftermath – if we remain flat-footed – will further threaten the lives of not only our most vulnerable but the livelihoods of all Americans.
While 2 in 5 low-income children in the U.S. live with a diagnosable mental health problem, 75% - 80% of all children and youth in need of mental health care do not receive services. The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Center for Wellbeing in School Environments (WISE Center) provides wide-ranging support for schools to implement whole-school approaches for mental wellness. In response to COVID-19, WISE is migrating their critical mental health services and related consultation for teachers and school leaders to virtual formats while continuing the teletherapy support for parents. WISE has virtually deployed their clinicians into the areas most economically impacted by COVID-19 and are developing a series of webinars for educators, parents, and policy makers on the mental health implications of the global pandemic and how to most effectively cope with the unfolding impacts. WISE desperately needs funds to get technology to the most vulnerable families to expand access to teletherapy and to develop a set of best practice standards in mental health responses during the pandemic.