The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world as we know it. As many fellow advocates are calling for the release of the most vulnerable populations who are incarcerated, our organization is dealing with a huge influx in re-entry requests and we continue to support our community as a whole, while struggling with engagement efforts as everyone is also dealing with the fallout from this pandemic.
Our all volunteer team doesn’t qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program; nonetheless, we are still committed to our mission and our community. We have have delivered thousands of meals and various supplies, medications and entertainment/technology options for families with youth, we are paying for hotel stays for individuals who are not eligible for permanent or transitional housing; some families are diverting recently released individuals because no coronavirus testing is available to ensure that they are not bringing the virus into their homes. We are emailing legislators and the Governor; we are sending letters to local Parole & Probation offices about maintaining in person meetings and group sessions, despite the Shelter-in-Place order. As of Friday, 4/3/20, our Board has made the difficult but necessary decision to go to an all virtual outreach effort.
How can you help??? We need help with the cost of hotel stays, masks, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, e-gift cards for Amazon, Walmart and local restaurants, J-Pay stamps, gas cards, and other various needs, as they arise. As our focus moves to all virtual/no contact, we need more help than ever. We are using our reserve funding but needs are coming in faster than we can keep up with. We are still helping with restoration of rights, voter registration, employment and housing searches, behavioral health referrals, social service programs, submitting pardons and clemency packages and empowering those who are directly impacted by the criminal and juvenile legal systems to get involved and make changes in our broken systems. I know that times are tough for everyone so if you cannot support financially, by all means, share this fundraiser with your networks and that will mean just as much. Please stay safe and healthy. WE WILL SURVIVE THIS TOGETHER, APART!