Let me cut to the chase – Family Care Network needs the help and support from our Community now more than ever. The unprecedented, negative impact of the Covid-19 virus is affecting all of our lives, but especially the most vulnerable and fragile members of our community. For some, the pandemic is a matter of inconvenience, but for many, it is a matter of survival, securing the basic necessities of life, or even life-and-death.
As this pandemic viciously lingers on and on, it is not only taking a toll on people’s health, but it is taking a serious toll on people’s emotional and mental wellbeing, and their ability to work and provide for themselves and their families. It is negatively impacting people’s financial security, food security, housing security, family stability and social stability.
Covid-19 has perhaps had the most profoundly negative impact on humankind since the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago. But, with every challenge there is always an opportunity! Below, I’ve outlined several ways that our Central Coast community can rally together to make a substantial difference.
It is so true--our children and youth need to be in school. But first and foremost, they need to be kept safe. Family Care Network works with hundreds of families at any given time and we fully understand the challenge--as well as the panic--our families will face when their children and youth attend “virtual” not in-person school this fall. This goes for our staff as well, as we have many wonderful employees who are also moms and dads of school-aged children.
I am calling for members of our community--whoever is able--to volunteer to be a tutor, mentor or family support partner to help our families stay the course. Given our current technology, people can assist, help, guide and support virtually through one of the many video platforms. If people are willing to provide face-to-face instruction or guidance, FCNI will make sure folks are fully trained and provided with all of the safety equipment/PPE they need to feel comfortable. Volunteering in this fashion only costs your time and energy, but can make an invaluable difference in the life of the child and their family!
Housing Insecurity is already a major issue on the Central Coast. Family Care Network operates five housing programs for Transitional Age Youth and homeless families. More and more of our community members are losing housing due to lost wages, financial instability and the end to the government imposed moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. And as requests for housing assistance increases, FCNI needs affordable housing units to help prevent homelessness, or to serve families already experiencing homelessness. We are passionately seeking landlords or property managers willing to work with us to care for these families. We have a multi-year, proven track record of working with property owners and managers, and equipping families to become self-sufficient. We welcome any community help in serving families struggling with housing.
Related to Housing, is our need to provide the basic “necessities of life” to our housing program participants. Because the Central Coast is substantially on a stay-at-home order, many of our parents and young adults need financial assistance to help them make ends meet. This is especially true of our Transitional Age Youth, who already face multiple obstacles and challenges in finding and securing employment even during non-pandemic/recession times. Unfortunately, our only access to resources to meet these vital, basic needs is through community donations. If you, or someone you know, has the means to give, there is no better time than now!
Over the years, Family Care Network has developed some wonderful partnerships with key donors in our area who make major, annual donations. This funding is essential for us to be able to deliver needed goods and services that are not covered by government funding. FCNI is a good investment, as 100% of donated funds go directly into services--none go to administrative overhead. As needs grow within our community, we need our pool of major donors to grow as well.
I want to encourage anyone with the heart and the means to support our services to the community through a substantial donation. We are also encouraging people who can, to donate monthly. A monthly donation equivalent to a cup of coffee a day for a month, goes a long way!
As I look to the future of Family Care Network and our role in serving children, youth and families here on the Central Coast, I have a dream of someday having an endowment which will sustain the organization year in and year out, regardless of economic fluctuations. Individuals may not be able to make a major donation, but we can be included in their wills, or through some other planned giving mechanism. Stock donations, property donations or specific bequests are all ways our community can and has supported our efforts. If you have an interest in making Family Care Network part of your legacy, please reach out to me or our Resources Engagement staff.
I have said it many times in the past, All of us at the Family Care Network consider it a privilege to be your Community-Based Organization serving the most vulnerable children, youth and families in our community, people who have unfortunately experienced tragedy and trauma. Please support our efforts by generously donating funds or time – it will be put to good use!