COVID-19 Relief Fund continues to help despite lack of donations | Covid-19

Elena Anita Watts |

The COVID-19 Relief Fund has not grown since last week but continues to help local nonprofits.

Another $5,200 in grants for nonprofits was approved on Friday, said Brooke Garcia, executive director for the Victoria County United Way, at a meeting of the Golden Crescent Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD).

“We’re hoping still to build the fund so we can continue helping in the community,” Garcia said.

The Community Action Committee has used all the resources from the COVID-19 Relief Fund allocated for rental assistance. The United Way intends to review immediate needs to decide whether to allocate more in that area. About $60,000 has been distributed from the fund to the community and about $30,000 remains, she said.

Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry will continue to offer drive-through services through May. The organization is working toward safely resuming operations indoors and is considering interior building modifications. Separate entries for the clothing store and food pantry could reduce time spent in the building by some people, said Marc Hinojosa with VCAM. VCAM Saturday, an event that offers an additional day to shop for groceries, will be from 9 a.m. to noon May 16. Other nonprofit organizations are invited to participate.

Comfort Food Care Packages, a program of the Texas Governor’s office offered through the Texas Restaurant Association to help during the COVID-19 crisis, is gaining traction, said Ginny Stafford with Mid-Coast Family Services. Fourteen meals have been donated and delivered to families in need from restaurants including Fossati’s Delicatessen and Rosebud Records, Grill and Theater. Donors contact the restaurants directly, and the restaurants contact Mid-Coast Family Services to identify families in need.

Mid-Coast Family Services soon will receive the second allocation of funds from the state for rental and other homeless assistance, Stafford said.

“We’re excited to have more resources to help the community,” she said.

Jill Blucher, community engagement coordinator for the United Way, is in the process of planning a Day of Caring for mid-May.

“We have received interest from larger companies who want to put their employees who are working from home to work before they get back to their normal lives,” Blucher said. “We’ve talked about putting smaller groups a bunch of different places.”

Meals on Wheels services have plateaued with just a few new deliveries this week, said Dan Williams-Capone. The number of deliveries has doubled since March 16.

Bethany Castro with Perpetual Help Home said that she and representatives from the United Way and the Texas Workforce Commission met to gain clarity about childcare options.

“We had been hearing in the community about people being nervous because there was no daycare or school and they had to go back to work,” Castro said.

The main message taken away from the meeting was that daycare facilities are only allowed by the state to care for the children of essential workers, she said. So even if they could come up with monetary assistance for some people in need, it would not do them any good.

Glen Dry is pursuing the temporary installation of a shower trailer at Christ’s Kitchen as part of ongoing disaster preparedness plans. The conversation, which started before the coronavirus crisis because the need already existed within the community, has heightened, he said.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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