Ana Acton & Nicole McNeely: Nevada County Relief Fund — it’s about community
Ana Acton and Nicole McNeely
This pandemic puts people with disabilities with underlying health conditions, and older adults at the highest level of risk. Forced to shelter in place to avoid contracting the virus, many of our neighbors are struggling to get food and access to basic necessities.
FREED and the Food Bank of Nevada County, without skipping a beat, joined forces with our community partners such as Gold Country Senior Services, Interfaith Food Ministries, Nevada County Health & Human Services and Connecting Point 211 to help those who do not have access to food and basic necessities while sheltering in place.
Thanks to the Nevada County Relief Fund, and the many community members who’ve generously donated to it, FREED and the Food Bank of Nevada County have expanded access to food. The Food Bank of Nevada County has seen a 300% increase in individuals seeking food, with over 2,500 individuals receiving Food Bank services weekly since the pandemic started. FREED has seen a 100% increase in requests for services related to food, isolation, transportation, and housing assistance since COVID-19, and quickly pivoted to meet those needs by starting or expanding four new programs.
In partnership, FREED and the Food Bank developed a weekly grocery bag delivery program serving over 180 individuals since the program started in April. Nevada County Relief Funds will support the Food Bank and FREED partnership to ensure people with disabilities and older adults, who are unable to get to food distribution sites, are able to receive groceries at home. In addition, funding from the Relief Funds will support FREED to prevent evictions for people with disabilities who are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19.
We know that this is a difficult time for many individuals and businesses in our community. We are thankful for all that you are doing to stop the spread of COVID-19 by having made the difficult decision to close the doors to your businesses and support sheltering in place. It is because of your efforts that people who are at the most risk, will be able to thrive and survive. You have donated your time as volunteers and your resources for our programs. You are the heart of our community.
We are continuing to work with our community partners to address the needs in the community including connecting people with social supports to reduce isolation and expanding the ability for individuals to access goods and services remotely. Quite honestly, it appears that this is going to be the new “normal” for those we serve, for many months to come. Through it all, we are proud to be able to partner with all of you.
While we have been through a lot already, people with disabilities who have underlying health conditions and older adults who are at-risk for COVID-19 will likely experience a “dual reality.” On the one hand, much of the county is reopening, but many of us will need to continue to shelter in place to reduce exposure and serious health consequences.
Join us! We invite you to continue to support our work and share in the pride we feel in being able to support and tend to our community during its time of need and recovery.
The Nevada County Relief Fund has made it easy to support our safety net services and small businesses. Go to the Nevada County Relief Fund’s website, http://www.nevcorelief.org, click on the “Donate” button and make a gift.
Ana Acton is the executive director at FREED. Nicole McNeely is the executive director at The Food Bank of Nevada County.
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