On behalf of Habitat LA and the families we serve, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all that have helped support our COVID-19 Emergency Relief efforts over the last eleven months.
This pandemic has created immense hardships for those living in the greater Los Angeles area. Thousands of low-income families already struggling to make ends meet have lost family members, been furloughed, laid off, or have had to stop working because of COVID-19. And so many of the families we serve, especially those who work in the service or health care industries, manufacturing or childcare, have been hardest hit by the physical and economic effects of this virus.
In April 2020, we launched a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, with the intention of providing support to those we knew would need our help the most. We enlisted staff from all departments to make calls, send postcards, and check-in with families to see how we could best serve them during this time. The conversations we had were difficult, and the stories laid heavy on my heart.
Our effort began with the distribution of personal protection equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, booties and sanitizer, which we began quickly distributing to frontline workers, medical practices, community clinics, emergency workers, and non-profit staff working in homeless shelters and encampments.
As food banks began to lose their volunteers, we combined forces by deploying our ReStore trucks and drivers to help distribute more than 10,000 meals to homebound seniors and others in need. As the pandemic continued to evolve and people began feeling the economic effects of layoffs or decreased wages, we pivoted to raise additional funds to provide direct financial assistance so that families could purchase groceries and pay for basic needs.
Our efforts continued to take many forms over the last year. In addition to distributing more than 1 million pieces of PPE and hundreds of gift cards for groceries and basic needs, we provided mortgage and rental assistance to more than 80 low income households struggling to stay in their homes. We distributed 275 baskets of household supplies to help keep homes safe, and 1,100 technology kits to low-income families struggling to navigate the world of online learning. Because of the generosity of so many of you, we distributed turkeys and fixings to 50 families just in time for Thanksgiving, and in December you helped us spread cheer by creating 46 holiday baskets full of food, gifts, wreaths and gift cards.
Two weeks before Christmas, we partnered with 95.5 KLOS and 5 other radio stations to distribute $37,000 in gift cards to 245 low income LAUSD families, along with 145 baskets of toys.
As we look back at our COVID relief efforts, we realize how much we have learned. Pivoting during a pandemic was full of uncertainty – it truly felt like we were building the plane while in the air – but because of the commitment of many of you and the selfless collaboration of more than 25 community partners, we have raised more than $490,000 and provided direct services to nearly 1,800 families with additional support to thousands more.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the many companies, congregations, individuals, and foundations that have donated funds and materials to help serve the community that we all care about so deeply. Our work is far from over, and I hope that you will continue to support these efforts in the coming months.
Yours in Partnership,
Erin Rank, President & CEO
Click here to support our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund