United Way of the National Capital Area is uniquely positioned in the community to convene resources and partners to help join us in the fight to solve the most pressing issues in our community. The urgency was just as real in March 2020 as it is now! As businesses and agencies across the region experienced temporary closures, moved to telework schedules and began limiting large-group gatherings, organizations in the National Capital Area started to feel the impact. While for many workers in our area life will eventually get back to normal, there are hundreds and thousands of hourly wage earners like waiters, cashiers, childcare providers and those in jobs like small government contracting firms that provide services such as: janitorial, printing, trucking, food and IT who will continue to find themselves in need in the days and weeks to come.
In March this year, your United Way NCA made available $50K and reactivated the Emergency Assistance Fund to meet the basic needs of those affected. The funds were directed to six organizations in our region that helped residents weather this storm by providing vital food and other assistance. By May this year, the fund had delivered more than $700,000 in additional capacity to 30 organizations and programs geared towards providing healthy meals to frontline hospital personnel, health, and medical resources and financial coaching and guidance.
United Way NCA partnered with Geppetto Catering to help identify individuals in need, from older citizens who are unable to cook and grocery shop to employees who are suddenly out of work, to receive high quality and nutritious meals through its newly launched “Send a Meal” program. United Way NCA also partnered with Windows Catering to provide meals to frontline hospital personnel in medical facilities across the region including doctors and nurses, as well as medical staff such as front desk personnel, custodians, security workers and other employees who are responding to the increase in healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The opportunity was made possible through a $100,000 donation from a Windows Catering customer who is championing the opportunity for a small business and its employees to stay afloat by supporting the tireless efforts of these first responders and their support teams in these medical facilities. 8,000 meals were delivered to healthcare facilities in the DMV area. Check out our EAF Impact so far.
We have moved to the recovery phase of our COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. As we look ahead and work to mitigate the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on residents, we are finding the gaps of inequity widening for those who fall below poverty guidelines, those who lack adequate access to healthcare, communities of color and those with different abilities. These include:
- The academic effects of distance learning on students – particularly students who don’t have access to technology or who typically receive other support systems during the school day.
- Greater economic impact for thousands of workers and small businesses who will experience financial hardship beyond the immediate crisis.
- A rise in the need for mental health support and resources as individuals, children and families navigate life in the aftermath of COVID-19.