The novel coronavirus struck a blow to the nation’s health system and its economy, as restrictions on public gatherings to slow the spread of the virus impacted businesses small and large.
Among those impacted were public-service organizations, such as homeless centers and food pantries.
To support folks struggling to stay afloat amidst the pandemic, the City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Long Beach Community Foundation (LBCF), announced that $1 million were collected through the Long Beach Coronavirus Relief Fund.
“Long Beach residents, businesses and foundations, have risen to the occasion to help our city during this health crisis,” Mayor Robert Garcia stated in a City press release. “We are seeing unprecedented levels of compassion during these difficult times, and I am so proud of the work that is being done through the nonprofits to support our community.”
Donations for the fund began March 18, via credit card, text-to-give, PayPal and check contributions from public donors.
At first, the LBCF made a priority list of where the funds would go. That list included:
• Low-income individuals affected by COVID-19 to pay for critical expenses
• Microloans and/or funds to small businesses affected by COVID-19 to pay for critical expenses and adapt business models during this crisis
• Emergency funds for workers laid off as a result of COVID-19
• Individuals experiencing homelessness by paying for sheltering, food and sanitation supplies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to quarantine as a result of COVID-19 exposure
• Providing food and critical supply delivery to those who are home-bound.
However, the amount of money received has allowed for the LBCF to expand those priorities. Now, groups that support health-care workers and organizations that provide mental-health services will receive some funds through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
“While Federal and State assistance programs were being developed, the Long Beach Community Foundation set into motion both a funding stream and a process for quick deployment of resources,” Marcelle Epley, LBCF president and CEO, said. “Careful advanced planning, an in-depth knowledge of the community and its nonprofits helped launch this program efficiently, which is benefiting thousands of Long Beach residents right now where the need is the greatest.”
According to a City press release, 31 nonprofit groups have received a portion of the donated funds. Among those nonprofits are Century Villages At Cabrillo and CityHeART.
“We are extremely thankful for the $10,000 we received from the Long Beach Community Foundation,” Brian D’Andrea, Century Villages at Cabrillo president, said. “This support will provide necessary food and emergency supplies for some of our most vulnerable residents and veterans who are isolating in place.”
CityHeART, a nonprofit group that helps homeless individuals get back on their feet based at the Villages at Cabrillo complex, received $7,500.
“The funds have allowed us to re-open our Resource Hub and provide critical resources such as food, water, hygiene essentials, and household supplies to families, veterans, kids, and seniors who are experiencing homelessness or who are home-bound at this time,” CityHeART Executive Director Paige Pelonis said.
Groups can apply for donated funds via an application on the LBCF website.