A Global Day of Giving During a Pandemic
Since mid-March, 75% of our clients have been impacted in some way by COVID-19. Even during the shelter in place mandate, Caritas of Austin has continued to build well-being for our clients and the community so we may all realize our full potential. The needs of our clients has increased as has our need for support from the community.
Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of giving and unity, set to take place on May 5, 2020 is an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. Caritas of Austin is one of hundreds of nonprofits in Central Texas participating in #GivingTuesdayNow.
The Inspiration of a Gift
In the hope of inspiring others to give on #GivingTuesdayNow, The Meyer Levy Charitable Trust has made a lead gift of $50,000.
The Trust’s family trustee Michael R. Levy said, “The purpose of this grant is to assist Caritas in its urgent need for the funds required immediately to meet its rapidly expanding client base’s most basic needs during this pandemic crisis. Although this crisis obviously requires significantly more resources from individuals, foundations, and local governmental entities, this grant will give some support to Caritas’ key programs to meet basic housing and food needs and for personal protection equipment for staff and clients. Because of Caritas’ experience and record, we are confident that the Trust will see an exponential return on this philanthropic investment.”
Meeting the Needs
Since early March, Caritas of Austin has altered how services are provided. Our professional staff are now meeting with clients by phones in lieu of face to face meetings, and we have purchased phones for clients to ensure this is accessible. Food from our pantry is provided curbside, rather than self-shopping, and for those who must remain isolated, we deliver food to their door. Lunches continue to be served Monday through Friday for anyone needing a meal but since the dining room in the Community Kitchen is closed, staff prepare and hand out over 200 sack lunches each day. And, in the midst of social distancing, we continue to end homelessness by moving clients into permanent housing.
These changes, and others, have increased our costs. As for so many others in our community, our clients’ need for groceries from the pantry has increased, yet food donations are down by half. Rental and utility assistance is needed to prevent people who have recently been stably housed from returning to homelessness. Efforts to help clients find employment have been increased. We are also serving new clients and support them in ending their homelessness, so that they, too, can safely weather this challenging time we are all experiencing.
A Community of Generosity
Since this crisis began, we have been deeply moved by the incredible generosity of our community, and all the ways YOU have stepped up to support one another. Join us on May 5 for Giving Tuesday Now. You can help spread the word on social media, make a gift, set up your own fundraiser page, or share your giving story to inspire others!
#GivingTuesdayNow gifts can be made to Caritas of Austin here.