An open letter to our UWSEI Friends,
Together, we are facing a truly unpredictable situation. The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life. I wanted to reach out personally and let you know we are thinking of all of you during this time. You may be in a state of pure exhaustion. You may have competing priorities: working from home, juggling kids, perhaps with elderly parents, finding the time to do what you love to do…
Our staff at UWSEI has a virtual team huddle every morning. We are all tired but optimistic. One thing that binds us all together is the words and actions of donors like you – people who are telling us amazing stories about how you and your organizations are connecting and supporting the community each day. Those stories keep us going because we know what’s happening.
What’s happening is that local families are being cared for, and you’re allowing them hope and encouragement to keep moving forward.
The extension of Idaho Gives has given us all an opportunity to help now through May 7, 2020, when our agency partners need it most. The growing unforeseen needs and pressures the pandemic is placing on our agency partners have left them scrambling for resources.
I want to give you a very small snapshot of what we are hearing.
Aid For Friends’ strategy to minimize the impact of COVID-19 is to reduce the immediate numbers of people residing at the shelter and prioritize the assistance based on health conditions and age. As difficult as it has been, Aid For Friends has been forced not to accept new homeless clients into the shelter. There are many homeless men, women, couples, and families that are not able to secure safe lodging during this tumultuous time. Funds are needed to secure more safe housing, such as hotels or shelter extension sites.
Valley Mission told us the number of families in need of emergency food assistance is growing rapidly.
“In the first three weeks, we have gone from serving 160-200 families per week to over 350 on average in the first 3 weeks. Expectations of 400 families per week are the norm going forward, with some weeks peaking at 500 families expected. To put that in sheer numbers the average household served is right at 4 per HH. 1600 to 2000 people per week expected to be impacted and in need of emergency food.”
Pocatello Free Clinic is an approved site for health profession students at Idaho State University, the Pocatello Free Clinic heavily relies on student and volunteers to operate. Because of COVID-19, ISU has removed students from their clinical sites, heavily affecting PFC staffing. As the only free clinic in ~100-mile radius providing medical care in Southeast Idaho, they are more committed than ever to serve those in greatest need. They are asking for funding primarily to hire the required staff to meet needs.
It is at the forefront of our mission to step up to the plate and help guide our community through crises. We are combining the extended Idaho Gives campaign with our local COVID relief fund. We are grateful to be that bridge every day that brings change to our community.