“Mr. Rogers said to look for the helpers, and you guys are really the helpers. I don’t know where we would be right now without you and we won’t ever forget this.”― a recent client
In a normal year, Self Help is a safety net, designed for all the little (and not so little) ways people living on the edge can fall through the cracks–a broken radiator, a sick child, a lost job. Many families face those “normal” setbacks each year. COVID-19, however, is a setback on a scale we’ve never seen before in our fifty-year history, and we are called to action in a way we’ve never been before.
The COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for all of us, but its effects are most felt by those already struggling–low-income families, undocumented workers, single parents, the elderly, and people with health risks. They are facing loss of income due to layoffs, quarantine, or illness, and are struggling to access aid.
We’re providing confidential emergency financial aid, advocacy, and important referrals to help people navigate a changing landscape. We’re working to prevent the most unconscionable outcomes–such as hunger, homelessness, and lack of access to medical care. We’re gearing up to help small business owners and home entrepreneurs whose businesses have been devastated. And we’re advocating for the needs of our neighbors where it counts–with providers, landlords, and public representatives.
Unprecedented times call for creativity and flexibility. We are increasing our fundraising efforts to provide as much aid as possible to those affected by the pandemic–we even sent out our first-ever appeal letter for donations. We’re also actively recruiting volunteers to help manage call volumes. And while we’ve been on an IT overhaul journey for a few years, that just got turbo-charged– we’re switching to digital recordkeeping and digital resource tracking, working out the bugs on our cloud computing, creating a volunteer orientation system, and more. A faster, more efficient Self Help is in the works!
As the pandemic progresses and reopening begins, those we serve are often not better off–in many cases policies designed to protect them are being relaxed as well, leaving people more at risk of eviction, utility disconnections, and illness at work. Our work is far from over. But with the help of our donors, our volunteers, and our community we’ll be here to help, stronger and better than ever.