By Denise Badger, Content Manager for The Apopka Voice
With so much in upheaval right now, from our social networks and support, to work income and opportunities, it's heartrending to think of those who are living on the margins.
It's true that many of us live paycheck to paycheck no matter the monthly take-home number, and we all will struggle one way or another because of COVID-19. I had one bank owner explain to me during the 2008 financial crises: It doesn't matter whether you're in a yacht or a dingy, when your boat gets hit it still sinks. I got his point. But I couldn't help but think how much closer to the water a dingy sits, with less resource and power and ability to hold on until it goes completely under.
Boat analogies aside, my heart is heavy. And I wonder if yours might be too. As action-oriented people we want to do more than feel bad for those in need, we want to do something. Something that really makes a difference. Something that will give tangible relief and open space for others to breathe. Something that will bring real hope.
What I can do alone feels like so little. But when added to the little you can do... and to the little he can do... and she... and them... and others... the little becomes a lot.
When our collective hearts and hands are opened and we reflect inward to see how we can help someone beyond ourselves, then, more than just a random stepping stone here and there, a community-built bridge reaches across the turbulent waters and helps keep our sinking neighbors, near and far, from sinking beneath the surface.
The thing about reflecting inward to see what's there to give, gives us a chance to see clearly. It's when we look deeply, honestly, that we catch a glimpse of our neighbor's face, or a struggling stranger's, in the reflection of our own.
We're all struggling. But all of us have something we can give to make the struggling a little lighter, the day a little better, and hope a little brighter. With each selfless act from hearts that care beyond our own individual situations, we make this possible for all of us.
With the "Stay At Home" Executive Order in place for Orange County, there are obvious limitations in how we can help. But I started looking into opportunities and ways to give and have been heartened by individuals and organizations who have focused their efforts on making sure our most vulnerable and valuable neighbors in need aren't left to struggle alone, especially in these difficult times.
Some of these you've heard of, others will be new, and as I learn of additional opportunities I will update this page, so keep it close at hand. And PLEASE send me an email if you discover any others we should add to the list.
Just know, whatever you can give -- time, support, money, ideas -- your donation will go a long way.
Get daily, easy-to-do ideas to help your neighbors, community and world. Great to do by yourself, with kids, or as a friend group. Check out #GoodDeedsDay and get inspired by all the ways people around town and the world are stepping-up.
Text "GivingTuesday" to 33777
Farmworker Association of Florida: a nonprofit organization that addresses the marginalization of and injustices against farmworkers and rural communities
1264 Apopka Blvd.
Apopka, Florida 32703
Pre-existing conditions, no sick leave and health insurance put farmworkers at increased coronavirus risk. The Farmworker Association in Apopka is here to care for and uplift these vulnerable workers who work hard daily to plant and harvest the food we eat.
"Consider for a moment a common need that connects us all – healthy food – that feeds and sustains us so that we can continue to grow, care for our families, and live life to the fullest each day. Now, take a moment to consider the links in the chain that bring that food to our tables – the land, the seeds, water and sunshine, and the hands that cultivate and harvest the crops. The intense labor of farmworkers each day contributes greatly to human health, yet farmworkers are often forgotten." -Tirso Moreno, FWAF Co-Founder
Loaves & Fishes: a nonprofit organization that offers assistance with food, baby items, household items, toiletries, prescriptions
206 East 8th Street
Apopka, Florida 32703
"To do our part [in regard to COVID-19], we’ve taken immediate steps to ensure the safety of our staff, families, and donors. Loaves & Fishes Annual Walk-A-Thon has been cancelled; however, this annual fundraiser will still be active to donate via mail or on-line. Please mark your check “WALK” in the memo line or on-line donations, please type “WALK” in the comment section. GREAT NEWS!!! All Walk donations will be matched by an anonymous donor."
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida: a nonprofit organization that collects, stores, and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners (emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, daycares) in Orange County and five other Central Florida counties
411 Mercy Drive
Orlando, Florida 32805
"In the past 7 days, Second Harvest has seen a 90% increase in the number of online searches on our online food finder tool. Our food distributions have doubled to 190,000 MEALS a day.
Thanks to the generous support of our Central Florida community, Second Harvest is rapidly mobilizing to keep meals on the table for seniors, families and kids in our community."
Here's what you are making possible this week:
5,500 meals for kids are being provided daily through our Kids Café, Summer Food and Community Kitchen programs.
2,700 emergency food boxes are feeding families and seniors.
Mobile drops are happening twice daily across Central Florida.
50% more food is safely being distributed through our 550 feeding partner network.
"The loss of economic activity, especially in the tourism sector, is impacting thousands of hourly workers and their families. More will be impacted in the weeks ahead. We'll be working with our network of feeding partners to get food to those who need it most.
If you plan on volunteering and have traveled to an area of the country or world impacted by Coronavirus, or are experiencing any symptoms of illness, we ask that you do not volunteer at this time. Please join us as a volunteer when you are symptom-free for 14 days after your return date. Click here to learn more about volunteering."
If you, or someone you know, are in need of food assistance, please visit our online food locator to find a list of feeding partners near your residency. Please make sure to call before heading there, to make sure that their hours or location have not changed. If you need assistance during the weekend, please call United Way's 2-1-1.
Domestic Workers is providing $400 in emergency assistance for qualifying home care workers, nannies, and house cleaners who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows these workers to stay home and stay safe.
Meals on Wheels delivers meals to vulnerable senior citizens. Their COVID-19 Response Fund will get emergency resources to local programs.
No Hungry Kid is working to ensure that no child who normally receives a meal from a school lunch program goes hungry during the pandemic.
Global Giving is helping stop the spread of the virus by giving communities on the front lines of the crisis the resources they need to act quickly and protect the most vulnerable. The organization sends doctors, nurses, and health care workers to communities in need and is also helping to get masks, ventilators, and other lifesaving medical supplies to hospitals and clinics.
One Fair Wage is providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, and personal service workers who often rely on tips and whose income is threatened by COVID-19.
AmeriCares is funding the distribution of critical supplies, education, training, and other support for its staff and partners here at home and around the world.
UNITE HERE is providing economic relief for working families facing layoffs and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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