It’s been a whirlwind for the Kafenia COVID response team, which kicked off in mid March. The team started by creating a COVID CIVIC Engagement Guide, with 5 practical things that people can do to help along with resources for people in need. To get the word out, we wrote an opinion piece about the suggestions, and the piece was picked up by PA Weekly!
Mary Jane noticed that people in Palo Alto were offering to help others in their own neighborhoods, but few people were responding that they needed help. Meanwhile, in East Palo Alto, people were feeling the economic bit immediately. So we created two surveys for our own cross-community network, one for people to offer help and the other for people who need help.
From the people who needed help, the overwhelming ask was for rent assistance. Many people, especially undocumented families in East Palo Alto with no other resources, struggle to make rent every month under normal conditions. And these are the people who were slammed immediately with the loss of income in construction, restaurant, gardening, and domestic work due to shelter-in-place.
What came next seemed like a miracle! Members of our community stepped up with contributions and we were able to provide rent assistance for April to ALL the people on our original list. We’ve partnered with Live in Peace, a long time EPA organization, to accept the donations and pass them directly to landlords.
There’s so much more to do, and we could use more members to join the team and take the lead on projects. The team meets several times a week. If you want to learn more, contact Barbara (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks to the awesome team, including Sarahi, Melanie, Mary Jane, Evelyne, and Barbara with the help of Gregoire, Mohamed, Dennis, Caroline, Zoe, and others.
--submitted by Barbara Weinstein