It’s no secret that times are tough right now. But our community is strong — and our non-profits, stronger in their resolve than perhaps ever before!
Just as they always have, local non-profit organizations are working through this crisis to help the most vulnerable among us. Here are just a few organizations (out of hundreds) doing the heavy lifting during a very scary time.
If you know of other non-profits going above and beyond to help our neighbors in our new reality, please become a contributor and tell us about them, or use this form to Spotlight the Good on Just the Positive.
Providing HOPE in Hard Times
Northern Nevada HOPES has a mission to “provide affordable, high-quality medical, behavioral and support services for Northern Nevadans, wherever they are in life.”
Because HOPES is an option for people who often don’t have other resources, they’re able to provide services and resources to their patients in an effort to help them stay safe and healthy. And that mission has become even more critical during the current crisis.
The first week of the shutdown, a HOPES patient was released from the hospital with nowhere to go. She went to HOPES, knowing their doors would be open to her and that they would help her plan her next steps.
Since some patients don’t have a home to go to, the HOPES team has created the Recuperative Care program. This is a resource for helping patients find a safe place to recover while also providing them with clothes to wear and food to eat. This whole-person approach continues after they’ve recovered, when they help their patients find more stable housing and other resources after they’ve been hospitalized.
“Our case manager, Marcela, scheduled her hospital follow-up appointment with a HOPES doctor and got her settled in to a local motel,” explains Mary Ingvoldstad, a member of the HOPES communication team.
Providing a Lifeline to Local Families
The Women & Children’s Center of the Sierra (WACCS) helps low-income women learn the skills they need to make a better life for themselves and their children. Depending on where they are in their lives, this could include education, job preparation tips or crisis intervention. The coronavirus crisis has made life a whole lot harder than it already was for many of WACCS’ clients.
Because WACCS is in the middle of a number of low-income neighborhoods, they’re perfectly situated to help families who have now been faced with extra need — and fear. In the first week of the economic shutdown, they helped nearly 125 adults and their children.
“A lot of our clients are undocumented, so losing their jobs creates extra fear, and now no income,” says WACCS Executive Director Pam Russell. “We’re here to help them fill in the gaps whether that’s food, diapers or information.”
The WACCS Diaper Bank is one of the centerpieces of the organization, but it has become even more critical now that so many families are out of work at the same time diapers are becoming harder to find in stores.
The WACCS team members are also helping their clients with an even more valuable commodity — information and someone to talk to. “People are coming in worried but trying to stay positive,” Russell says. “We give them the information they need and direct them to other resources. And sometimes they just need to share their fears. We’re here for that as well.”
A Calm Voice in a Storm
A lot of people are feeling stressed and fearful these days – understandable when the entire world has changed, seemingly overnight. The staff and volunteers at Crisis Support Services of Nevada (CSSNV) answer calls and texts from all over the world, 24/7/365.
They talk to people about all kinds of stressful things, including depression, child abuse, sexual abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence and substance abuse. As you can imagine, many of these forms of stress and abuse get a lot worse when times are tough.
“We are ALL dealing with a worldwide crisis that we have never experienced before,” says CSSNV Executive Director Rachelle Pellissier. Not only are we worrying about the health and well-being of our friends and loved ones, we don’t know if our lives will ever be the same again. The staff and volunteers of CSSNV are still working 24/7 to help people navigate the chaos this is causing.”
It is normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed at times like this. CSSNV staff and volunteers are available 24/7 to help you navigate through this crisis and find the resources you need. If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, call 1 (800) 273-8255, text LISTEN to 839863 or visit www.cssnv.org. You can also visit their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
Helping People with Disabilities However They Can
Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living (NNCIL) helps people with physical and cognitive disabilities live more independent lives. Normally this includes cooking and sign language lessons, blind and low vision support groups and social outings.
While the physical center is currently closed, the staff members are all working from home, talking to their clients on the phone and through email to help them with whatever they need during this crisis.
“We know that this is a tough time, made tougher because the places they normally go — our center, the library, etc. — are all closed,” says NNCIL Executive Director Lisa Bonie. “So we’re inviting them to call us and tell us what they need, and we’ll help them however we can.”
As many of their clients don’t have access to computers or printers, this might involve filling out and submitting forms or helping them search for housing. The blind and low vision support groups are still happening, but now by phone.
“We’re taking this time to call all of our clients to check in on them and see what they need,” Bonie says. “And we’re doing all kinds of things we haven’t previously. We don’t want to leave anybody needing anything.”
How You Can Help
All of these organizations run on tight budgets in normal times. The coronavirus pandemic has caused them to pull in their belts even tighter as donations are drying up. All of them can use financial donations of any amount, and many of them have wish lists. Please visit their websites to learn more about how you can help them help our community. These are just a few of the nonprofit organizations working to make our community a better and safer place. Be sure to share your organization’s story with our readers!